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NP W-Cape reduces PDC to toy telephone

NP W-Cape reduces PDC to toy telephone

30 October 1996

The NP in the Western Cape has once again failed to embrace the new South Africa. After months of debate in the standing committee and painstaking preperation for the launch of the Provincial Development Council, the NP, through MEC Lampie Fick have appointed members to represent the provincial government on the PDC who are not from government.

This move has cast a cloud over the launch of the PDC which is due to take place on Monday 4th November.

The Provincial Development Council was established to co-ordinate, facilitate and initiate consensus amongst stakeholders on provincial, regional and local development planning. The PDC emerged from the Western Cape Economic Development forum which had attempted to bring labour, business and government together before the 1994 elections to map out a common development vision for the province.

Provision is made for the appointment or representatives of;

  • Regional councils 2. Organisatins on a provincial basis which represent organised business, labour, organised agriculture, organisations of developmental and community interest, organisations of environmental interest 3. Specialist committees 4. Provincial government

It is clear from the act that the intention of the legislature was to involve all stakeholders in the development of this vision. Government, although not bound by decisions of the PDC needs to be an active partner in reaching consensus together with other stakeholders.

There had been extensive debate at the standing committee as to who should represent Provincial Government. As the ANC we had argued that we should appoint senior representatives such as our MEC`s or top officials. A resolution of the standing committee was then passed and accepted by the Legislature that the members of the provincial government should be appointed by the responsible MEC in consultation with the standing committee.

At last week`s cabinet meeting MEC Fick introduced a late item on the agenda and the cabinet, despite concerns raised by ANC MEC`s, appointed Mr Chris April and Theo Behrens as representatives of provincial government. The ANC caucus has rejected these appointments arguing that people from government should represent the Provincial Government on the PDC.

MEC Fick has refused to reconsider these appointments arguing that he is not bound by the resolution of the standing committee because the wording of the resolution contradicts that of the act. Further he has consistently expressed his own view that the PDC should simply advise government and that government itself should not be part of the PDC.

We believe that the PDC will be fatally flawed if members of provincial government do not serve on the PDC. Labour, business and civil society will be sending senior representatives from their constituencies - why should government be different? It seems that MEC Fick wants a glorified advisory board with his messengers equipped with toy telephones but unable to engage in real consensus seeking with other stakeholders. This thinking belongs in the past and is out of step with developments at a national level.

We have requested our ANC MEC`s to raise this matter urgently with the Premier in an attempt to resolve it before the launch.

It is clear to us that the NP in this province is determined to force narrow sectional interests above those of the Province. The recent appointment of ex NIS Chief, Niel Barnard as Director General is a case in point.

Issued by MPL Tasneem Essop, ANC Spokesperson on Finance in the Provincial Legislature and Vice-Chair of the standing committee on Public Accounts and Finance

Cameron Dugmore:
MPL African National Congress
Tel: (+27 21) 483 3838 Western Cape Legislature
Fax: (+27 21) 483 3883 PO Box 648 E-Mail: cdugmore@anc.org.za

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