Dividing political power between national and local governments seems to be an essential for a functioning South Africa:
Members of the Direct Democracy Forum have been thinking about having the same political party in power in local government as is in power in national government. “Too much power concentrated in one party” seems to be the conclusion. The effect is painfully obvious to see when considering the abysmal state of local government in South Africa.
This thinking expanded outside of the party when debating the 2016 local government elections and was further focussed on by some parties approaching the DDF with this proposal; “if the DDF support them in their local government elections, they would support the DDF in National Elections”. This we agreed to with some conditions (see below).
This really set the focus on DDF discomfort at having the same parties contesting local and national elections. The truth is that the DDF are focussed on National Government. The DDF want to fix things from the top down. The DDF want to empower those whose business is local government to get on with the job of local government, effectively and efficiently. The DDF don’t believe that any one organisation can deliver at both levels adequately with equal effectiveness and competency. Something always seems to fail in the name of political expediency.
From this debate comes a DDF Policy which says this will be one of the constitutional issues up for discussion when the DDF enter government. A DDF administration will seek to change the constitution such that political parties and politicians engaged in Local Government cannot at the same time engage in National Government. So political parties and politicians will be faced with a choice – do they function and compete at a national and provincial level or at a local level, because they will not be able to function at both levels at the same time.
With this in mind, the DDF have taken a conscious decision not to contest local government elections in 2016 but instead will focus on national and provincial contests. Instead, the DDF will support any party in local elections who 1) have supported or who pledge their support for the DDF in National and Provincial elections and 2) who adopt DDF local government policies.
This is not a walk in the park for anyone taking up this proposal. It can be seen that DDF local government policies are stringent and arduous on those holding power in local government. The DDF will not only empower local governments in their endeavours to deliver to their constituencies but will also empower their constituencies to hold them rigidly to account and fire them if that doesn’t work.
Playtime is over, ladies and gentlemen.