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DA threatens to pull municipalities and Metros out of SALGA over political bias

Feb 22, 2018
DA threatens to pull municipalities and Metros out of SALGA over political bias

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday said that it has written to the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) expressing its deep concerns with the organisation’s possible political bias towards African National Congress (ANC) governed municipalities.

"SALGA has a mandate to represent the interests of local governments, however, it faces allegations of political bias and possible wasteful expenditure," said Kevin Mileham, the DA's Shadow Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

"The DA’s concerns centre around SALGA pushing a political agenda, aligned to the ANC, that its leadership consists predominantly of the individuals from the ruling party and allegations that opposition councillors are often excluded from SALGA training and initiatives."

Mileham said that the DA has now given SALGA until 30 April 2018 to address "our concerns about their politically-skewed priorities. Should the organisation fail to meet our deadline, DA-led municipalities will not be paying membership fees for the 2018/2019 financial year and will subsequently withdraw their membership altogether".

He said that the DA-led municipalities account for approximately 20% of SALGA’s income stream and DA members constitute four seats on the SALGA NEC.

Mileham added that some of the DA’s other concerns, apart from the allegations of the politicisation of SALGA, include:

  • The seeming irregular and extensive international travel of SALGA NEC members and senior management for ‘international relations’ purposes;
  • The personnel costs at the organisation amount to 55% of the organization’s total expenditure, with the administration costs of a further 7.5 %. In contrast, programme costs are at a lowly 20% of the total costs. (according to 16/17 annual report); and
  • SALGA expects municipalities to carry the costs for priorities which are not within the mandate of the organisation.

"It is evident that something is seriously wrong at SALGA - and it is for this reason that the DA is prepared to ensure that all DA-led municipalities pull out of SALGA should the organisation fail to fix these concerns as a matter of urgency," he said.

"It is unacceptable that SALGA should abuse its position to either include or exclude certain municipalities or political parties.

"The DA will ensure that SALGA restores unbiased practices within the organization, to guarantee that every South African citizen has access to efficient local governments, irrespective of political affiliation."