The 2016 Municipal Election was a watershed for our country with the advent of a possible cooperation of political parties. Emphatically, the electorate have spoken loudly against one party arrogant dominance, corruption, nepotism, the disregard of the rule of law, the failure to provide basic quality services, and mediocre in the sea of poverty, unemployment and inequality. In this regard, they have in not less than 27 municipalities, decided to test all political party’s commitment to the need for a caring government. They have done so by reducing the dominance of the ruling party and by refusing to endorse any other party as an automatic alternative to govern.
Certainly, the policies and the performance of the ruling party as a government have received a strong critic and more importantly, a sense of how best to address the challenges faced by South Africa has also been given a platform to rise.
South Africans are mindful of the dangers that are inherent in a one party dominant state and believe that the best way of securing the constitution and, with it, the future success of South Africa a commitment by all political parties to a cooperative governance through coalitions. The envisaged cooperation creates a possibility for a platform to agree on minimum to maximum actions in response to the triple challenges confronting South Africa. Indeed this is a great and significant shift in the body polity of our nation.
Cooperation also demands that the parties recognise that the time is opportune for a re-alignment of South African politics led by parties who can lead social forces brought together by a shared commitment to a new vision and policy agenda for South Africa.
We will engage in discussion that will advance the interests of all citizens towards a common platform and unity in action.
In this regard, the parties welcome the discussions with all other parties that are interested in the service of the people. Accordingly, we view these discussions to be more about cooperation of political parties in the servicing of the citizens.
In whatever cooperation we agree on, we shall always be connected with the base of its support and be true and diligent representatives of their cause and aspirations. Any cooperation must at all time respect the views of the electorate as expressed through the ballot paper.
We shall not go into political marriage where we are destined to be swallowed up or serve other political parties’ agenda, but will remain true to our vision and mission as independent parties, and will favourable consider participation in a major realignment of policies.
COOPERATION (COALITION) BASED ON A COMMON AGENDA
We believe that the glue that must bind all political parties is the commitment to provide basic services to the all citizens irrespective of their socio economic circumstances. Of immediate necessity is the agreement on the following.
1. Service delivery relate matters
• Provision of clean water and in particular to rural hinterland;
• Provision of quality shelter for all those who deserve and qualify with speed, and eradication of informal settlements;
• Electrification of all rural areas and provision of reliable electricity to all;
• Better waste management systems for social and economic beneficiation of citizens;
• Putting an end to E-Tolls;
• Regulation of the informal trading including street vendor hawkers;
• Prioritisation, formalisation and integration of the Early Childhood Development as part of the mainstream education system;
• Vigorous and meaningful actions intended to create sustainable jobs;
• An immediate review of the procurement (tendering) system to favour amongst other Local Economic Development and beneficiation;
• Reviewing of the current property valuation and rating system;
• Improving of the billing system to ensure that citizens pay for services they consume;
• Creation of the dedicated units for regular maintenance of the infrastructure;
• Eliminating corruption at all levels of government;
• Removal of the current Head of State who has been an embodiment of corruption;
• Finalisation of the proper naming of the Capital City of the South Africa;
• Provision of Free Education to all deserving citizens;
• Immediate suspension of the envisaged Nuclear deal;
2. Budget Implications/ review
Amongst other things to be agreed on as a matter of urgency, is the review budget so that it responds to the issues raised above. National and Provincial Governments are already in the process of the mid-term budget review and municipalities will be entering this process very soon as they have just adopted IDPs and Budget two months ago. Accordingly, as parties we strongly agree, that the next six months should be used to review and realign budgets in order to ensure maximum resourcing of the above priorities.
3. Constitutional Reforms
In this regard, the parties felt very strong that whilst other matters are of long term nature, a very clear and binding timeframes must be agreed to by all. We further propose a firm commitment amongst all political parties to the convening of an urgent National Convention, led by political parties and all other social partners, to consider and resolve on the following, amongst others:
• Land question;
• Property ownership;
• Electoral reforms;
• Party Funding Legislation;
• Strengthening of the Chapter nine institutions.
At the centre of the proposed National Convention should be how best to address the urgent need of Economic Emancipation of all citizens in particular the historical disadvantaged individuals and groups.
4. Further issues
It is common knowledge that South Africans have registered their displeasure with how government has been using the available resources. In this regards, cooperation must also look at how the size of the cabinet reinforces the need to spare resource and redirect them to service delivery. Parties are firmly proposing a review and realignment of cabinet functions with the intention of reducing the size of the cabinet.
The appointment of Mayor and other political heads at local government must appreciate the need to a working cooperation. In this regard, the parties may have to consider whether the Executive Mayoral system is best suitable to deliver or the Executive Committee Systems. Whatever we may agree on, centrally should be a system that recognises all participants whilst ensuring less bottlenecks in servicing the people. It must also place the people at the centre of their own development.
This also applies to the appointment of Municipal Officials from the Municipal Managers to other managers and lower staff members. The purpose must be to keep public service as a professional function and always separate the state from a political party.
A cooperation by all political parties is what South Africans have called for in these elections. Accordingly, parties that agree on what has to be done going forward, must ensure delivery of efficient and effective services to the people, and pursued unity of purpose in earnest. Perhaps the saying: Individually you are fierce warriors, but when you fight as one you are most powerful better sums up the approach.
We must enter into cooperation on objectives that do not derail us the mandate of the electorate and our manifestos. In the crafting of a frame-work for a possible cooperation, it must be clear upfront why it is desirable for us to embark on that as a both a tactical and strategic way forward.
Centrally, any coalition/cooperation require a strong commitment to the need to service the people thus putting community first.