The local governance circus goes on

FamCast News
12 days ago

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The district administrator of Mafeteng this week called for funds to bankroll the construction of a new market place in Mafeteng town.

That sound progressive and noble. The catch is, in what capacity would a DA make such utterances? One would expect a plea like this to be made by the town clerk, an administrator who is a technocrat employed by the Mafeteng Community Council.

To put things into perspective, let us look at a DA’s responsibilities as stated in black and white in the Local Government Act.

“The minister shall, in consultation with the Prime Minister, appoint a person … to be the District Administrator for each Administrative District.

“The District Administrator shall be the person who shall represent the interests of the Central Government at district level and shall be responsible for co-ordinating duties and functions of all public officers in that district, other than those employed by local authorities.

“All public officers in that district, other than those employed by the local authorities, shall function under the direct supervision of the District Administrator. The District Administrator shall, in carrying out his functions and duties under Act, be responsible to the Minister.”

Earlier this year, parliament received a report on local government regulations from the relevant authority, which listed two more functions to be transferred to local authorities.

As expected, this news was greeted with little enthusiasm. This simply demonstrated that the people had finally seen the central government for what it is: it is not interested in decentralisation.

We appeal to government to speed upon the decentralisation process. Until then we will forever have this fractured local governance system, made up of glorified village committees masquerading as community/urban councils. And the cunning and overzealous characters called DAs will continue to disregard and ride rough-shod on indolent and clueless local authorities at every chance they get, all in the name of representing the interests of central government.

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