Too late for a quick fix to restore SA administration – Helen Zille

The law prohibits interference by politicians in the functioning of administration – but this is based on the assumption that municipal officials are models of probity who need to be protected from corrupt, meddling politicians. However, Helen Zille, DA federal council chairperson, writes that increasingly, where the DA takes over from the ANC, the situation is reversed. The crony networks in the administration are all too eager to cite this prohibition to prevent adequate political oversight and avoid answering probing questions. The process of appointing senior officials in government is drastically in need of a complete overhaul to minimise the risk of state capture and to prevent criminal syndicates from capturing the state’s capital flows for their own self-enrichment, she believes. – Sandra Laurence

Why it is so hard to fix what the ANC has broken

By Helen Zille

Why is it so difficult to fix institutions that have been run by the ANC for decades? Having spent a lot of time and effort (with many others) trying to do this, this post will share at least one important insight. Starting with the example of Eskom.

As everyone now knows, Eskom is controlled by criminal syndicates that make it impossible to save the institution. It is in its death spiral.

But this does not only apply to Eskom. It is only a matter of time before the truth about the ANC-criminal syndicates running other state-owned enterprises is fully exposed as well.

In fact, almost every sphere of government controlled by the ANC since the dawn of democracy, has been turned into a battlefield between interlocking networks of criminal syndicates seeking to advance their own enrichment.

I thank my lucky stars that I became mayor of Cape Town in 2006, when the ANC had not yet been in power in the City for long enough to strip the administration of all its skills or deploy cadres to do the syndicates’ bidding.

That is why it was a manageable challenge to arrest the decay and turn Cape Town around to become a beacon of functionality (in comparison with every other Metro in the country).

Mayors in other Metros, where they have to manage extremely complex coalitions, have a much harder task than I had. They have inherited administrations that still often answer to the syndicates, not the DA politicians who are now nominally in charge.

There is a strong prohibition in law against “interference” by politicians in the functioning of the administration. That is something the DA respects – but this prohibition is based on the assumption that the officials are models of probity who need to be protected from corrupt, meddling politicians.

We are learning, more and more, that where the DA takes over from the ANC, the situation is reversed. The crony networks in the administration are all too eager to cite this prohibition to prevent adequate political oversight, and to avoid answering probing questions.

Our laws were written on the assumption that officials would be competent, independent public servants, functioning in terms of the law of the land, implementing policies of the party that won the election, in the interests of the people.

State Capture destroyed this myth, in every sphere of government run by the ANC and in every State-Owned Entity. It will take much more muscle than the current oversight powers that politicians are allowed to exercise to correct this.

The process of appointing senior officials in government is drastically in need of a complete overhaul to minimise the risk of state capture and to prevent criminal syndicates from capturing all the state’s capital flows for their own self-enrichment.

Despite the crisis of loadshedding, the criminal syndicates running various line functions in Eskom, continue to loot the entity dry. They will take us to Stage 8 loadshedding if they can profit enough from the process of getting us there.

The same is true of almost every other ANC institution. That is why we have to remove the ANC from power and replace it with a better alternative. But even where the DA takes over, the rot is so deep, and the corrupt interests so entrenched, that it will take superhuman efforts within the framework of the current laws to change things.

Fixing South Africa will not be a quick-fix. On the contrary, it will be the work of decades. But it can, and must, be done.

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