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SACP Eastern Cape raises concern over political infighting and rampant corruption in municipalities

FEBRUARY 20, 2017
SACP Eastern Cape raises concern over political infighting and rampant corruption in municipalities

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape says it is concerned by the "deteriorating" state of local government in the province, in particular Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and Mnquma Local Municipality.

This comes after the party held its 8th plenary session of the 7th Congress Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) over the weekend in King Williams Town.

According to SACP Eastern Cape Provincial Spokesperson, Siyabonga Mdodi, the PEC meeting was held for the party to assess the working class revolutionary advances and setbacks and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our party in struggling to change the socio-economic conditions of the working class.

Province:

While welcoming last week's State of the Province Address (SOPA) as delivered by Premier Phumulo Masualle, the SACP said that it, however, expected a progress report on the pronouncements of the previous SOPA specifically as it relates to infrastructure development as well as skills and job creation.

"The PEC raised its concerns on the deteriorating state of local government in the province, in particular Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and Mnquma Local Municipality," said Mdodi.

"The infighting at Mnquma which has been characterised by factional power battles, rampant corruption and fighting over state resource for selfish accumulation by a select few.

"The fights in Mnquma have led to the compromise of service delivery to the people and we welcome the recent arrests for alleged corruption and call upon the law enforcement authorities to apply the law without any fear or favour."

 He said that the "impasse" in Buffalo City cannot go unabated as it divides the attention of the political and administrative leadership in delivering services to residents.

"What is taking place there confirms our long held view that the suspension of the ANC Regional Secretary was just an academic exercise as he remains in control," Mdodi described.

"The conflict between the ANC Regional Chairperson and the suspended ANC Regional Secretary confirm this SACP long held view.

"We welcome the move by the ANC provincial leadership to attend to these challenges. We are however of the firm view that any intervention in these challenges require an alliance shared approach as both municipalities were identified as hotspots by the alliance and agreed to attend to them collectively.

"We are of the view that part of the things that must be attended in Buffalo City is the outsourcing of the municipal service. The alliance must get to the bottom of what informs the decisions to outsource in many municipalities and some provincial departments as it reverse the gains made by the congress movement and the alliance decision in favour of insourcing."

He added that the SACP in the Eastern Cape welcomes the intervention by the Hawks to dispatch the national task team to investigate corruption in some of the Eastern Cape municipalities as there "has been glaring corrupt activities in many municipalities".

"We however wish the dispatching of the task team has nothing to do with the ANC factional battles ahead of both the Provincial and National Conferences, as the Hawks have been highly politicised recently. We have witnessed the Hawks and other security forces being used to settle political battles, and used by former apartheid agents to pursue genuine comrades of the movement," he also said.

"We have observed with concern that key positions in the security cluster are occupied by former apartheid officers, who seem to be used to target former MK operatives. We would like to see the task teams dispatched to investigate corruption in other municipalities in other provinces as well." 

Education:

Mdodi said that the SACP welcomes the three-year turnaround plan by the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

"We are of the view that the plan represent a firm base for any kind of intervention to be anchored on. We are of the view that government should do more in improving the conditions in the schools in the rural areas and townships.

"Those schools should be turned around from being mere classrooms into being complete schools with all the necessary facilities to harness success," he described.

"As part of rebuilding confidence to public institutions, the SACP will campaign for public representative and officials to take their children to public schools particularly quintiles 1 to 3 which are schools in the townships and the rural areas, this includes our public hospitals.

"It is our considered view that the Department of Education must only focus on its core mandate which is teaching and learning, if we are to turn things around and build the future of our country. The department should not be burdened by the responsibilities that are not within its expertise like infrastructure delivery. These additional responsibilities have corrupted the department and invited some greedy political elements to target certain individuals in the guise of acting in the best interest of education, whilst they are chasing tenders."

Mdodi also saiod that it is in this context that the SACP calls for the establishment of the infrastructure agency that will be responsible for coordination of infrastructure delivery in the province.

"The line departments like the Department of Health and the Department of Education would then submit their infrastructural needs to the agency, so as to give the departments space to focus on their critical core mandate."

Health:

He said that the meeting once more raised its concern with the downgrading of the health institutions in the working class communities through inadequate funding and removal of certain services to the previously white dominated areas.

"We are of the firm view that the health institutions in the areas with the African majority should be capacitated with the necessary funding including clinical personnel. The people cannot be forced to travel long distance to get healthcare and worse even services that were provided by the apartheid regime," Mdodi described.

"We are calling upon National government to avail necessary budgetary support to the provincial Department of Health to enable it to meaningfully roll out the National Health Insurance (NHI). It is important that practical steps are made to ensure the realisation of the universal healthcare for the people of South Africa."

Matatiele:

Mdodi said that the SACP in the Eastern Cape rejects any attempts to bargain with Matatiele to keep control of the Ekurhuleni Metro without a widespread consultation with the affected parties.

"We are opposed to the idea of demarcating Matatiele into KwaZulu-Natal. This will have a bearing on the budget allocation of the Eastern Cape and will further disadvantage the province after we have lost Kokstad and Umzimkhulu. It is in this context that the PEC has called for the return of Kokstad and Umzimkhulu back to the province," he said.

"It cannot be that the Eastern Cape is always used for the benefit of Gauteng and other affluent provinces. The people of our province work as migrant labourers for the better part of their lives building the economy of Gauteng and other provinces, and come back home poor.

"They give their sweat and blood to building Gauteng and other whilst their province suffer.  The SACP says 'We have nothing left to offer to Gauteng and other provinces'.”

Disasters and water shortages in the province

Mdodi said that the PEC expressed its support to the people affected by recent disasters, including in O R Tambo district and welcome the allocation of R70 million by the provincial government to help people reconstruct their lives.

"We urge the provincial government working with national government to dedicate more resources in addressing water shortages in the province as water remains one of the basic necessity of our people," he said.

Corruption by the private monopoly finance capital:

According to Mdodi, the meeting reinforced the SACP Central Committee in "condemning in the strongest terms possible, the manipulation of our Rand by foreign and local banking and finance monopoly capital, and welcomes the decision of the Competition Commission to refer a case of collusion by foreign and local banks and financial institutions to the Competition Tribunal of South Africa for prosecution".

"For over 17 years now, the SACP has consistently been almost a lone voice, together with its campaign partners, campaigning for the transformation and diversification of the banking and financial sector as whole," Mdodi said.

"We further call on the Competition Commission to prefer criminal charges against the executives of the banks, who presided over this brutal criminal act. These corrupt activities cannot go unpunished, however we must be against them being used to justify rampant looting by the parasitic bourgeoisie (The smash and grab of the Guptas and company)."

The PEC meeting also received a Central Committee input delivered by Mandla Makupula, which served as the theoretical and ideological guide and firm base for the political discussion used interchangeably with the political report of the province.

The meeting adopted the SACP programme of action for the year 2017 informed by the fact that 2017 is a year of the centenary of the Red October Revolution, the SACP 14th National Congress and our 8th Provincial Congress to be held in October. It also pledged solidarity with the people of Mozambique and other parts of South Africa, who have been affected by cyclone Dineo.