Do-or-die decision for ANC
The coming ANC national conference will have to produce a final solution on whether some of the country's nine provinces need to be disbanded or retained.
But one thing is certain, there will be no radical alteration to the current provincial boundaries. This is despite strong calls in certain ANC quarters to dismantle economically poor provinces and those who perform poorly administratively, and include them in richer neighbouring provinces.
But the proposal to rationalise the provinces did not get sufficient support during discussions in the ANC structures as they prepared for the coming national conference to be held in Limpopo in December. In the run-up to the all-important conference, the public debate has been dominated by the current ANC leadership succession debacle at the expense of policy and other crucial issues that will have an impact on the lives of the ordinary people.
Among them is the fact that there is general agreement in the party that certain provincial functions should be devolved to district and metropolitan municipalities due to their close proximity to the communities. These include the delivery of social services such as health and some education and welfare services and provision of housing and other infrastructure.
This view arose from the continuous lack of capacity to deliver social services at provincial level. It was felt that the provincial government is not easily accessible to the people unlike local government, which is ideal for this task.