Implementing financial disincentives for municipal officials was according to DA leader John Steenhuisen one of the fundamental ways to help roll out service delivery in municipalities.
Steenhuisen, who recently visited the small town of Hofmeyr during the party’s local government election campaign, said local authorities needed to ensure that they had capable officials.
“Many municipalities have been hollowed out by cadre deployments. You have people who do not know how to do the work they are being paid very well to do. We need to implement financial consequences for municipalities. If they do not get clean audits, if they do not spend their grants, there need to be financial disincentives for municipal officials. You have to link performance to salary and once you do that, you will see municipal officials waking up to do the job rather than thinking they can get away with no service delivery. We have to fundamentally find different ways of rolling out service delivery.”
After visiting a few households in the area Steenhuisen was concerned with the reality of houses which still have the bucket toilet system. “We cannot have a situation where people have the indignity of bucket toilets in a modern society. It comes down to having a council that focuses on getting the basics of service delivery right. That means keeping water infrastructure maintained, making sure Eskom bills are paid and kept up and making sure that money is spent on infrastructure. People need to think very carefully in this next election on how they vote and vote for the way they want to live.”
Resident Nomfundo Fuba said the poor state of roads, water shortages, uncollected refuse, electricity outages and the high rate of unemployment were among the struggles the community members had to deal with over the years.
Giving reassurance to farm owners in a meeting, Steenhuisen said the party was fighting hard against expropriation of land without compensation. “There has to be land reform in South Africa. The constitution requires it and it is the right thing to do, to give land to people who were legislatively dispossessed of that land. Expropriation without compensation is not the way to do it. There are better ways to ensure we change land ownership patterns without destroying the economy,” he said.