the Chickens coming home to roost for the ANC

IFP PRESIDENT Mangosuthu Buthelezi has described the recent spate of civil protests as "the chickens coming home to roost" for the ANC.

Writing in his weekly President's Letter on the IFP website, Buthelezi linked the protests to the ANC mission in the 1980's of making South Africa ungovernable.

"In South Africa today we are reaping, in part, as I have said before, I believe, the bitter harvest of rendering the country's townships ungovernable during apartheid," Buthelezi said.

"We have already seen how this culture of ungovernability has found expression in the form of ugly dissent in our public discourse and beyond. Only consider the pervasive culture of nonpayment for municipal services."

Buthelezi said while freedom had been attained and enshrined in the country's Constitution, for many Africans living in squalor freedom exists only on paper.

"South Africa's poor are too preoccupied with mere survival to notice government intrusion on their freedom," he said.

"Some are gradually discovering that despite their right to vote, they have no effective control over the government they put in power."

The IFP leader also took a swipe at the ruling party's "concentration of power at the centre", saying the provinces should be given more powers as opposed to following the lead of the national government.

Buthelezi argued that the national government was far removed from the reality on the ground, while local government was closer to the people. So service delivery interventions should be concentrated in the municipal service rather than the national government.

"Local government is closer than any other tier of state administration to the hopes, needs and aspirations of the people."

The veteran politician said the government should find solutions to the confusion of responsibility between the national, provincial government and local governments.

"The current dynamic between central government, local services and citizens, characterised by a confusion of responsibilities and accountabilities, will have to change if we are to deal with the roots of poverty effectively.

"Our local government services are heaving under the weight of neglect, fragmentation, political factionalism and a shortage of resources.

"Until we bolster local government resources and properly capacitate it, we will continue to witness the distressing scenes of the last week and worse still."