Limpopo needs to recover

What could have been a serious labour unrest was swiftly avert by the fourth democratic cabinet resolved to place half of Limpopo government under administration.

This was at the time when the province was on the brink of collapse at the height of high level of corruption and administration that plunged Limpopo into bankruptcy.

The province was so broke that it was not going to be able to pay salaries for public servants late in 2011 and that would have created serious labour unrest and the first in the second decade of our freedom.

It is unimaginable how public servants would have reacted when they did not receive their salaries on pay day.

As part of national government intervention to thwart all the worst scenarios, Limpopo was placed under Section 100(1)(b) which saw the province being in the ICU on its road to financial recovery for more than two years.

On Monday the 28 June 2014 Cabinet announced a decision to return decision making powers to the provincial executive of Limpopo. Cabinet was convinced that Limpopo had fully recovered and ready to take on the reins.

It was not an easy decision for the cabinet to invoke section 100 1( b) because that calls for austerity measures to be effected which in turn might affect service delivery. Limpopo was not spared of this during its term at the hands of administrators.

Limpopo is a province with a serious service delivery backlog. For this province to have been put under administration it means it has lost significantly in addressing the challenges that ordinary masses are faced with.

Limpopo used to be one of the leading provinces in the past years. Previous leaders were rated high by number of institutions amongst others including the Afro Barometer. Others provinces used to come and observe and request assistance from various administrators on the running of the affairs.

Limpopo’s internal control systems were highly rated. Its ability to fight corruption was seen as a model that other provinces should look at and copy.

One knows very well that majority of its staffers were seen as people worth poaching because of their skills and attributes. it just happened that some people( which we are trying very hard to forget because of  what they did the last summer came)  collapsed its administration.

Within a short space Limpopo was no longer home for intellect but corruption hub. The province saw itself riddled with lots of protest marches of disgruntled communities, business people as well as the working class.

At some point public servants in the premier’s office embarked on daily lunch time picketing  calling for intervention and citing  issues like low staff morale. When corruption and maladministration took to the toll, every sector of the society found itself having to spent much of its time marching to the Provincial Head offices which only responded by saying that anyone who has evidence must report to the police

The question at that time what will happen to ordinary people because as Limpopo took a 180 degrees turn from better to the worst, we noticed the formation of lobby groups like Forum of Limpopo Entrepreneurs ( FOLE)   which said enough was enough. The level of maladministration has reached unacceptable level and there was a desperate need for something to be done urgently.

One can only applaud the National Government to have decided that because South Africa is constitutional and democratic country; they needed to invoke the law and try to solve all those challenges that this province south of Zimbabwe was faced with.

The year 2011 will be remembered in the history of the country as a year wherein a piece of legislation had to be invoked beyond political bickering and rhetoric. It was not easy as the same people even threatened to take national Government to court over the implementation of section 100 1 (b) that’s in itself did show that this fellows (Which we are trying very hard to forget) were hell-bent in destroying the legacy bestowed to us by fore-bearers .

As we witness the Departure of Administrators we are very confident that the current Administration led by Chupu Stan Mathabatha will return the Province to its previous glory . We only hope that he will leave up to his promises that this province will not again be under administration as he has said in a number of interviews.

He emphasises that the Province will return its previous glory of being the beacon of the country and example of how services are delivered to be people  as he did show by appointing men and women who  are tried and tested for the task ahead.

Thabiso Teffo

A Member of Timbuktu Book Club


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