DA slamms draft bill on local government

Cabinet has approved the controversial draft Constitution 17th Amendment Bill, which further empowers national government to intervene at local government level.

Cabinet has approved the controversial draft Constitution 17th Amendment Bill, which further empowers national government to intervene at local government level.

The bill will now be gazetted for public comment before being submitted to parliament, government spokesperson Themba Maseko told a media briefing yesterday.

"This bill vests national government with new powers of intervention at local government level to facilitate service delivery and to achieve regional efficiencies and economies of scale at local government level.

"The bill will also facilitate the restructuring of the electricity distribution industry and possible regionalisation of other municipal functions when necessary."

Maseko said certain municipalities had defied government policy - to plough energy revenue back into electricity infrastructure - and the aim was to bring these back into line.

He declined to name the offending local governments.

The bill has already become an election issue, with the DA lambasting it as evidence of the ANC's plans to change the Constitution and enrich its powers.

"This will enable a centralised ANC to severely limit the mandate of elected local government, especially where the ANC does not govern and where local authorities legitimately refuse to implement ANC policies," DA leader Hellen Zille said yesterday .

"If voters give the ANC a two-thirds majority, the ANC will destroy the capacity of other parties to deliver where they govern."

Zille also pointed out that ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte had denied any knowledge of the intention to pass the law.

"This shows that the ANC lies, baldly and blatantly. It treats the people of South Africa with contempt. The rug has now been ripped from under the ANC, and six days before the election, Cabinet has been forced into confessing its plans." - Sapa

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