Mileham gets it wrong about Makana

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Dear Editor

DA MP, Kevin Mileham (“Strengthen the DA to save Makana”) misinterprets the judgment which ordered the dissolution of the Makana Local Council.  He says that “The judge ordered the Provincial Executive to dissolve Council. She did not order that it was dissolved… The PEC has not made such a decision.”

He is incorrect. To quote the Order, the Provincial Executive was ordered “to forthwith dissolve the Municipal Council of Makana Municipality”.  In other words, in terms of the Order the PEC is obliged to comply with the Order which was of immediate effect. His only decision was whether or not to make application to appeal against the judgment which is now in process and which has the unfortunate effect of suspending the Order.

The Court found that our local municipality had failed “to ensure the provision of services to its community in a sustainable manner… to promote a healthy and safe environment for its community… to structure and manage its administration, budgeting and planning processes… to give priority to the basic needs of its community and…to promote the social and economic development of its community” and that a “mandatory intervention” was accordingly justified.

Mileham says the DA “stands firmly behind the judgement ordering the dissolution of council” but justifies the DA’s councillors’ continued participation in the local council because, he says “At least while they are there, they can in some way temper the worst excesses, and provide input and oversight to try and rectify the situation. They also have the ability to drive local issues (water, streetlights, electricity outages etc.) while they sit on council – once they no longer do so, they don’t have a platform to engage the municipal administration anymore.”

The fact of the matter, however, is that the DA councillors have not been performing that function and have in their own way contributed to the situation that has been developing in Makana over a number of years and the question arises that if, as Mileham claims, the DA “[holds]its public representatives accountable”, how is it that its current and previous councillors have remained in office despite performing so poorly?

If it wasn’t for the poor performance of all of the various parties’ public representatives collectively, including the DA’s, there would be no need for a “Community Party” and Mileham’s attempt to discredit those who are thinking about an alternative to the failed party-based system is regrettable and uncalled for. Those who are behind the initiative are the very “civic-minded, committed individuals” he is hoping to attract as DA candidates in 2021 but who don’t see their way clear to doing so.

The DA in Makana, as it presently operates, can never “save Makana” and Mileham should heed the biblical injunction that those who want to remove the speck out of another’s eye should first remove the plank out of their own eye.

Yours sincerely
Jock McConnachie

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