“… from a perspective that most scholars in the discipline are yet to consider”

 

In a glowing recognition of PARI’s work, the report Mogalakwena Local Municipality of South Africa: an institutional case study conducted by PARI was reviewed by the Journal of Public Administration. Author Rasodi K. Manyaka, from the Tshwane University of Technology, gives a comprehensive summary. He describes Mosa Phadi and Joel Pearson’s report as “instructive”, and “an in-depth analysis of the impact of factional politics on the governance of municipalities in South Africa”.

 

Manyaka goes on to say:

They need to be commended, because they looked at this phenomenon from a perspective that most scholars in the discipline are yet to consider. Their focus on the governance of municipalities within mineral extractive areas is quite interesting and illuminating, because it brings a new dimension into the discourse – the influence of business interests on the behaviour of political office-bearers. 

In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that the research report is significantly important for anyone who has an interest in the governance of municipalities in South Africa. It contains evidence that “provide indications of the potentially destructive consequences of institutionalised factionalism embedded in the ANC” politics. …

The Report shows quite glaringly that the ANC is at war with itself. This is evident in that there are competing factions within the ANC that have “turned state institutions into battlegrounds” for the control of state resources. Because of this, state institutions, especially municipalities, are politicised as a means for dispensing patronage. This battle for resources has the potential to paralyse the administration of government institutions, thereby impacting negatively on service delivery. When this happens, leaders will be alienating themselves from the people who put them in power. 

As it goes into National congress, in December 2017, the governing party needs to take out lessons from this Report. Perhaps, it may self-correct. As the Report offers valuable lessons for understanding the complex issues that fuel the tensions between political and administrative heads of government institutions, particularly in the municipalities. 

Municipalities are at the coalface of service delivery. Their functionality is very crucial in undertaking their developmental mandate.

DOWNLOAD Journal of Public Administration 52(2): 498–502