In the successive national, provincial and municipal elections held since the birth of democracy; the African National Congress (ANC) has steadfastly committed to the principle of participatory democracy. In ensuring that mobilization through participatory democracy translates into success at the ballot: the organization’s election manifesto plays a central role in uniting citizens around a common vision. This is of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
The ANC’s 2016 Local Government Election Manifesto is a combination of a ‘balance sheet’ and a visionary blueprint. It is borne out of extensive consultation with our people and our abiding commitment to transparency and accountability. It outlines the achievements of the governing party in terms of service delivery at a municipal level; but at the same time engages and galvanizes the nation around the ANC’s vision to achieve socio-economic transformation through the upliftment of the lives of millions of South Africans.
Being mindful of the immense challenges we still face as a country with regards to socio-economic transformation should not prejudice or blind us to the need to give credit where credit is due. The reality is that the programmes and policies of the ANC were and remain the primary vehicle through which government both national and local- has been able to deliver on its mandate.
The 2016 Local Government Election Manifesto affirms the principle of accountability. The ANC has repeatedly said that public representatives as well as officials and managers in local government must and will be held accountable for the delivery of municipal services or the failure to do so.
Service delivery at a municipal level is the arm of government that most impacts our citizens. It is at this level that decisions are made that directly impact the living standards of communities and our people.
The social compact between the ANC as the governing party, and the electorate- rests firmly on our ability to translate words into actions and deliverables. Which is why this manifesto is only as good insofar as it translates into actual delivery.
The ANC since 1994 has been delivering on its mandate- to create a united, non-racial society where ideals of political, social and economic change are carried on the shoulders of democracy from the ashes of apartheid.
In support of democracy the ANC as the governing party continues to hold transparency and accountability to be key attributes of successful governance. It is not enough that we produce balance sheets outlining what we have achieved: we need to go back to our communities and engage with them: and not just around election time. And in instances where we are found wanting- we should be prepared to take the necessary remedial action. The ANC has not hesitated in removing officials or managers for non-performance or corruption and we will continue to do so.
This manifesto is a document that is a tangible translation of ANC policy into direct action at a community level. For it to have maximum impact, it must give voice to the aspirations of our people.
Also aligning with the principle of accountability the ANC strives to improve public participation in municipal government: and makes particular mention of the accountability of councillors in the manifesto.
Furthermore the governing party is committed to intensifying the fight against fraud and corruption in local government in pursuit of our vision of achieving a transparent government that not only ensures service delivery, but also commits to sustainable service delivery.
Later this month on April 27 South Africa will observe Freedom Day — signifying the first day of a free and democratic South Africa. This was a day where South Africans across the colour spectrum could stand together united under a government determined to bring liberation to all South Africans but Africans in general, from political and economic bondage.
These ideals of the ANC must continue to resonate with the nation as we work to ensure successful and efficient service delivery. Our manifesto is a call to action to engage with communities: with the aim of achieving realistic and achievable results.
Working together with communities, the ANC has established the foundations for a strong, accountable, transparent and resilient system of local government where communities are involved in all developmental initiatives in their respective localities. It now remains up to is to build on these foundations and strengthen them.
In delivering this manifesto the ANC sets out to empower the nation by ensuring that building confidence that local government is indeed in the hands of all South Africans.
As South African citizens we can be confident that we have within our grasp the means to bolster local government to make it a stronger, more resilient vehicle for service delivery and socio-economic transformation.
Whether in electrifying households throughout the country both in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, increasing the percentage of households that are connected to electricity supply (from 69.7% in 2001 to 86% in 2014) or providing access to basic sanitation services that (from 62.3% to 79.5% between 2002 and 2014) the ANC is the home of every citizen working to build a greater South Africa.
We encourage all South Africans to engage with the 2016 Local Government Election Manifesto; communities are the cornerstone of development. If we want to realize the vision of our Constitution- all of us as South Africans need to be part of the building team. If our communities are empowered: the nation is empowered. If our communities prosper: our nation prospers.
CDE LINDIWE ZULU IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC