Not deterred by the series of crisis that has rocked the party in recent times, the African National Congress (ANC) has set out to speed up its pace in service delivery as it sets out its plan to improve local government.
In its election manifesto launched at Port Elizabeth last weekend, the ANC pointed out its political successes over the past 22 years saying it has confidence in retaining control of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality despite inroads being made by opposition parties.
Speaking after the launch, ANC’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted that service delivery has been lagging behind but that the party is still committed to a new system of holding its ward Councillors accountable.
“Delivery may have been slow in other areas, this is what I said earlier today, those are some of the slowness of pace that we’ve demonstrated. But from 3 of August we’re going to pick up pace. We’re going to make sure that we deliver better,” he said.
The ANC hopes to address the dissatisfaction within communities about service delivery by strengthening relationships between residents and local ward Councillors. It promised to enforce accountability by giving residents the power to choose their own Councillors.
Speaking at the launching, President Jacob Zuma assured the people of a democratically elected Councillor adding that the party would not interfere in the people’s power.
“Local government is in your hands” he said
“We’ve heard their concerns about the manner in which Councillors were chosen in the past. It is for this reason that we’ve involved communities in the process of nominating candidates.”
Speaking further, the Eastern Cape Premier and head of the party in the province Phumello Masualle said party disputes ought not to affect service delivery. “You’ve got to keep improving quality,” he added.
Meanwhile, while some analysts believe the Concourt ruling against President Zuma hasn’t done much damage on the party’s support on the ground as the matter isn’t only an ANC concern but also to the entire nation, others believe the party will be highly affected by the ruling especially as the party would struggle to establish its credibility in the coming local government elections.
“People talk about harvest, people talk about water, people talk about all other things and rarely do they bring the Constitutional Court judgment because that is so far away from their material rating on the daily basis,” Professor Sipho Seepe said.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga argued that “It can’t just be the question of a simple delivery of services, it’s about the credibility of the leadership that has been provided.”
But Zuma said the ruling party remains guided by the Constitution and is committed to improving the work done by municipalities.