News / Opinion / Columns
Richard Anthony Chemaly
Y’know. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) have this amazing way of passing off work.
Take their complaints and compliance committee (CCC). They have powers to do all sorts of things to bad broadcasters but they’ve made it so that if the broadcasters are members of some voluntary body, the CCC would defer to that body. Naturally, some broadcasters came together, formed the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) and made some lovely limits on the fines they can impose.
Broadcasters have less risk. Icasa has less work. Everything is working. Everybody is happy.
Where is that in our politics?
Like I don’t need a ward councillor.
Hell! I don’t even know what the dude does other than send some passive aggressive letters to the city manager’s ignore box. I think if you asked most citizens, they’d be really hard pressed to answer you, despite councillors laying claim to 20-30k a month plus benefits (including over R1,000 to attend their meetings and over R3,000 in cellphone allowances).
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What’s worse is that I don’t think most ward councillors are legitimate in my estimation. Some 15 million people voted back in 2016 and that’s about 10 million shy of half the population. Even if you account for those too young to vote, you’re still going to have a rough time trying to convince me that more than 50% of residents actively want their ward councillor.
Why does it matter? Because it’s different to national elections. Your ward councillor isn’t the dude/tte making policy. They’re the dude/tte who are supposed to make sure your civic services are working, so if we don’t want them, why should they be forced upon us at a cost of some 30k plus benefits?
I mean, let’s have the vote, sure, but if 30% of the ward’s population marginally vote in favour of Candidate Jackass, then what legitimacy do they have? Just because there has to be somebody?
No. Here’s the deal. Let’s have a requirement that Candidate Jackass should get a majority of the population to vote in favour of them before they get imposed on us, or at the very least, require that Candidate Jackass and Candidate Nutjob collectively bring out the majority of the ward to vote, otherwise we can assume we don’t want them.
It will even save them the bother if they can see beforehand that there aren’t even enough people registered to vote to elect them legitimately.
And think of just how great it would be for productivity, when one has to convince the people they work for that one can do a better job for them than they can do for themselves. Like those neighbourhoods with neighbourhood associations. Do you genuinely think they have an association because they think their councillors are doing a great job? Unlikely.
I’ll even pay to be left alone. Let me keep my rates and taxes. I’ll pay the city one or two hundred a month for the mayor to steal, turn into an overpriced website, or excuse of a soccer field. But then if there’s a hole in the road or a light not working, my neighbours and I will fix it. Sure it may be more ideal to have somebody in charge of that stuff but we tried that and it doesn’t seem to work.
This way, if we decide to hire somebody to be in charge of that stuff, they would answer to us and probably get the job done. Oh! And their job wouldn’t be guaranteed just because there’s nobody less awful at it.
Seriously. Ask around. When last did you hear of a working ward councillor earning their exorbitant salary? I don’t want one. I don’t need one. I can’t see why I should have to pay for one.