The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the South African Local Government Association (Salga), expressing its deep concerns with the organisation’s possible political bias towards ANC-governed municipalities.
At the same time, the DA accused Salga’s national executive committee and senior management of irregular and extensive international travel for “international relations” purposes.
MP Kevin Mileham said Salga has a mandate to represent the interests of local governments. However, it faces allegations of political bias and possible wasteful expenditure.
The DA’s concerns centre around Salga pushing a political agenda, aligned to the ANC, that its leadership consists predominantly of individuals from the ruling party and allegations that opposition councillors are often excluded from Salga training and initiatives.
Mileham said the DA has given Salga until April 30 to address concerns about their politically skewed priorities.
“Should the organisation fail to meet our deadline, DA-led municipalities would not be paying membership fees for the 2018-2019 financial year and would subsequently withdraw their membership altogether,” Mileham said.
DA-led municipalities account for approximately 20% of Salga’s income stream and DA members constitute four seats on the Salga NEC.
Some of the DA’s other concerns:
- The personnel costs at the organisation amount to 55% of the organisation’s total expenditure, with administration costs a further 7.5%. In contrast, the programme costs amount to a lowly 20% of total costs (according to 2016-17 annual report); and
- Salga expects municipalities to carry the costs for priorities which are not within the mandate of the organisation.
Salga spokesperson Sivuyile Mbambato said although some of the criticism by the DA was untrue, they have noted the concerns raised.
“We are going to continue with our dialogue with the DA. We had a meeting before and we are looking to find an amicable and sustainable solution.”