Cities becoming ungovernable?

The jury is out on how the ruling party will‚ at national and provincial government levels and through its departments‚ treat municipalities which are governed by opposition parties.

The executive director at the Human Sciences Research Council‚ Professor Ivan Turok‚ in his seminar on Thursday‚ asked a question how the governing party will respond to the metros governed by the opposition.

Turok referred to experiences of officials of the DA-governed Cape Town metro.

“If you talk to officials in Cape Town (metro)‚ they moan they get a bad deal‚ they are not taken seriously by many government departments for narrow political reasons. If that is going to happen more widely and national departments are going to take an unconstructive approach it is not going to be hopeful. It is critically important that we think about this. How will this inherent political tension play out over the next few years‚” he said.

With the assistance of minor parties including the EFF‚ the DA has increased the number of municipalities under its control‚ particularly in Gauteng‚ and Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Inkatha Freedom Party has also made inroads into some of the areas in KwaZulu-Natal which were under the ANC or the National Freedom Party.

Turok said the ungovernability of the country in the 1980s was ultimately the key factor that shaped South Africa.

“It led to the break down of apartheid‚ and the introduction of democracy. In the short term it was seriously destabilising but in the long term it led to change.

“In the short term we see protests‚ conflict‚ unrest and instability‚ which the rest of the world is alarmed about. Is this suggestive of positive developments to come? I think that depends on whether we take the challenge of governing our cities more seriously in our party political debates‚” he concluded.