I WAS mesmerised and shocked at the same time when local government and traditional affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane expressed his disgust at the corruption found in our municipalities, through the appointment of officials whose academic qualifications and experience are questionable.
In many instances, even when realities are staring us in our faces we ignore this truth, but blind party loyalty leads to a tacit endorsement of less qualified individuals, "comrades" are "deployed" for "strategic" reasons into "strategic places" to maintain "hegemony" of the organisation, ironically at service delivery expense.
When officials charged with the recruitment of staff are difficult to trust with the task given to them, there is bound to be chaos, incompetent people will be appointed and nepotism will be routine as some of the very senior people we have endorsed into positions of authority within the state are not scared of flouting processes they are meant to safeguard. Ordinary professionals, with the capacity to deliver, have become so despondent that they avoid daring to apply for vacancies in public institutions because they know they are wasting their time.
However when Khutsong burns and when Joe Slovo Township is in flames, a third force is said to be the culprit.
Those who are not qualified are simply confirming the truth of what we know. We expect them to perform miracles after we appoint them to positions of responsibility, an expectation which, for their standards, is indeed unfair.
Comrades are not even scared of the mess that they make out of our municipalities, it is business as usual.
We must not forget the organisation we must vote for is that of Chris Hani, Olivier Tambo and Nelson Mandela et al. Dare we not forget that blood was spilt for this freedom, comrades died and made sacrifices.
Is this what those comrades and many others fought for? Did they envisage a situation where it would be seen to be normal to have no municipal manager and even if we have one, three months in office would suffice, then he or she is "constructively dismissed"?
You would be forgiven for thinking that our municipalities are places where people conduct experiments on the extent of individuals' abilities to loot. A municipal manager gets dismissed (or resigns before such a dismissal) and/or is given a "golden handshake" with a cloud hanging over his or her head will appear somewhere else as a "new broom" and expecting different results.
I am told that Mandela, in addressing a Cosatu congress in 1993, said, "If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government". To say that was bravery would be an understatement, in fact that was statesmanship and patriotism redefined.
The comrades that we put into power are not scared of the masses. There is a sense of amnesia as to who should be serving whom.
It has always been my view that the existence of those who serve in structures of governance is presupposed by the presence of the masses that they serve. The people, against whom we need bodyguards and bullet-protected vehicles and for whom appointments have to be made with our PAs (which in more instance than not do not materialise), are the ones who put us into power.
Until the notion of clean governance is put to practice, we will continue on a downward spiral.
It should start with those who make it onto the "list" of political leadership, a standard should be set. Mere popularity should not be a yardstick for public office, the notion of having to chant slogans and booing should not be determining factors, but candidates' abilities to marry party policy with the constitution of the republic should be at the fore.
If you do not deliver in a position that you were deployed to, then you should go back to the trenches and learn, for you are a half-cooked product.
Unathi Dulwana, New Brighton, Port Elizabeth