There are mixed feelings among political parties and residents in the North West about the ongoing intervention by the national government in the management of the province’s affairs. Administrators were deployed to five provincial departments more than two years ago, but many feel that they brought little change in terms of service delivery.
April 2018 was the height of the Supra-must-fall campaign which called for the swift removal of then-Premier – Supra Mahumapelo. Violent protests disrupted schooling and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was called in to help at hospitals affected by strikes.
Weeks later, after Mahumapelo had resigned, the national government stepped in, citing large-scale corruption and maladministration in provincial government departments. Then Minister of Co-operative Governance, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, made this announcement.
“The North West province should be put under section 100(1. So after invoking that section then it was decided that all the ministers who have equivalent departments in the province must use this week to assess so that they can decide further in their departments depending on the situation they find that is going to be 100(1) (a) or (1)(b)).”
Administrators were brought in to run the Office of the Premier and the Departments of Community Safety and Transport Management, Education and Sports Development, Health and Public Works and Roads.
The Department of Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development, Local Government and Human Settlement, Agriculture, Social Department, and Tourism were given guidance on how to address their failures.
More than two years have passed and some people believe the intervention should be lifted. Secretary for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the province, Papiki Babuile, explains:
“It is not working, as a result of that our position is that minister of cooperative governance must withdraw and the President must withdraw section 100 and the premier must make sure that in all department capable people are appointed to run those departments but not as acting.”
The Democratic Alliance (DA) says there should be individual assessments of the departments to determine which of them are capable of running their own affairs. Chief Whip for DA in North West Legislature, Freddy Sonakile, elaborates.
“We cannot have a blanket approach to say let’s scrap it or not scrap it. We know what happened in 2018 when there was no administration. This province was a mess, so let us weigh it per department and check where it is working and where it is not working and advise where is needed but is not yet implemented.”
Some community members have mixed reactions regarding the matter.
“We see 30% of changes here because looting has never stopped.”
“These people were supposed to come and better the administration of the province and actually things are just turning out for the worse. So I do not see the purpose of them being here they must go.”
“We have seen progress, we have seen maladministration, corruption, and patronage being done away with. At least in municipalities, we are seeing people accounting for their actions.”
A local government expert, Professor Rhulani Hanyane from the North West University, says there is a need to tighten legislation around issues of intervention by the national government.
“Our forefathers who drafted the constitution somehow knew that the province and local government will struggle and when they struggle they need to be supported. So the key issues are that how do we allow the national government to support the lower spheres of government and section 100 is clear and same section 100 my argument is that come up with the legislation that will deal with issues of intervention.”
The national Department of Co-operative Governance did not respond to media inquiries.
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