Mailbox: Dismayed at personal animosity holding back SA’s coalitions

From BizNews community member, Beth Tomlinson:

We attended the BizNews conference this year for the first time, and really enjoyed it – thank you!  I just felt the need to write to you about some of the political things that were said, particularly by Helen Zille. I totally agree with her that it is difficult working with a coalition of many small parties, and as a matter of principle, the PA should not have got away with demanding extra portfolios. However, what is the alternative? The DA has now walked away from Johannesburg, and left us with a city that is fast collapsing. Of course, it is a whole lot easier for the DA to just stay in opposition, but is that the right thing for the residents? We would rather have had the PA getting more than their fair share, but at least having the city properly run, instead of having it now run by thugs and criminals. Not sure if you have read the latest News24 article about what has happened in Johannesburg since the ANC took over. Here are a few things:

In a little over six weeks the new City has: 

  • Lifted the suspensions of certain officials implicated in dodgy transactions and accused of not having the relevant qualifications for the job. Some were placed at the helm of key departments in the City.  
  • Suspended officials of the previous administration.  
  • Taken control of key City entities such as the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), replacing entire boards and replacing them with party functionaries.  
  • Welcomed back corruption-accused JPC CEO Helen Botes amid an investigation into her role in multimillion-rand dodgy transactions. 
  • Replaced the head of the City’s investigative capacity, Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS), with an official who herself was the subject of fraud investigations. 
  • Thereafter suspended the former head of GFIS. 

The strategy to take control of the City seems to centre on taking control of entities such as group human capital, ICT, public safety, and City entities such as the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC).  

The coalition seemingly wasted no time in homing in on its first target, the City’s corruption-busting arm, Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS), following Thapelo Amad of Al Jama-ah’s rise to the mayorship.  

Read more: Master classes in creating co-operation in shambolic SA political coalitions – Erwin Schwella

On another subject, Helen said categorically that 62% of ActionSA members were white (ex DA) and 34% were black. No-one questioned where she got those stats, but they just don’t sound right. I don’t think ActionSA keeps a record of the race of their members, but I am quite sure that black members are in the majority. I have always respected Helen, so I was really disappointed with her attitude.

It is such a tragedy that two parties that see things the same way, and could make a difference in this country, are being held apart by personal animosity.

Just my 2c worth!

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