Split up local govt legislature and executive

I READ recently a statement attributed to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on the responsibility of ministers to account to Parliament.

Motlanthe said he would demand answers why certain questions were not answered and undertook to report back to Parliament . This demonstrates his understanding of the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive arms of state.

This must be incorporated across government, especially in local government. It is time to discuss an activist legislative arm of state in municipalities where political incumbents head councils. They are responsible for executing the same executive function, thus politicians determine the pace, rhythm and agenda of oversight committees. Municipal councils legislate bylaws and play an oversight role in the executive. This anomaly dilutes their oversight function and perhaps this explains the fights between speakers and chief whips over functions.

In the national and provincial government, there is a clear separation of powers between the legislature and executive. MECs are called to account to a committee headed by a different person. The provisions of the Municipal Structures Act empowers the executive mayor or executive committee in the case of a collective executive system to appoint councillors to head section 80 committees.

Local government has undergone various phases of transformation and the current phase should try and close this gap. This may contribute to better accountability and make a significant contribution to the turnaround strategy.

Paseka Rakosa, Vereeniging