‘Land and jobs manje!’ Truth-checking guarantees within the EFF 2021 election manifesto

By Naledi Mashishi

Within the upcoming municipal elections South African residents will elect representatives for district, metropolitan and native municipal councils throughout the nation’s 9 provinces.

The Financial Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a political social gathering fashioned in 2013. The EFF doesn’t govern any of South Africa’s 278 municipalities. Nonetheless, it did win seats in municipalities within the 2016 native authorities elections.

The EFF’s election manifesto is titled “Land and jobs manje!” It consists of guarantees of what the social gathering would do if it received a municipality. Manje means “now” in isiZulu.

On this report we verify if the social gathering would be capable to implement their guarantees based mostly on the nation’s present legal guidelines. We contacted the EFF for extra data on their plans however on the time of publishing had not obtained a response.

TENDERS

Promise: “To construct capability in native authorities, EFF municipalities will abolish tenders and insource city planners, engineers, artisans, and basic employees comparable to cleaners, gardeners, drivers, and safety guards.”

Verdict: Attainable if municipalities have the cash and required expert employees.

A young is a proper invitation put out by nationwide, provincial and native authorities to obtain items and companies from personal suppliers. Tenders are made open and public for service suppliers to offer their pricing.

Part 217 of South Africa’s Structure states that if an organ of the state within the nationwide, provincial or native sphere of presidency contracts for items or companies “it should achieve this in accordance with a system which is honest, equitable, clear, aggressive and cost-effective”.

Every municipality should have a provide chain administration coverage on its web site that units out its requirements for procurements.

Dr Andrew Siddle is an adjunct professor of company governance within the Faculty of Accounting on the College of Cape City (UCT). He instructed Africa Test that whereas it was legally permissible for municipalities to make use of employees full time, many may wrestle to seek out native certified employees and discover it unaffordable.

“Ideally it could be good for municipalities to have full workers enhances who can do every little thing for the municipality with out having to contract out,” he mentioned. “However the funds of so many municipalities are in such a large number that sustaining giant workers enhances like this may most likely be utterly not possible for a lot of.”

He added that though there had been situations of tenders being abused, the aim of the tender course of was for presidency sectors to acquire items and companies on the most cost-effective costs.

EVICTIONS

Promise: “EFF municipalities will make it unlawful for residents to be evicted from personal properties until an appropriate different is discovered for them.”

Verdict: It’s already a constitutional requirement for municipalities to offer short-term different lodging for evictees.

Municipalities are allowed to go by-laws however they could not battle with nationwide or provincial laws.

The Prevention of Unlawful Eviction from and Illegal Occupation of Land Act (1998) outlines the procedures that have to be adopted for the eviction of illegal occupiers. The act says an eviction order have to be obtained by means of the court docket which can take into account whether or not the eviction is “simply and equitable”. The court docket will take a look at elements such because the rights and desires of the illegal occupiers and the way lengthy they’ve occupied the land.

Lauren Royston is the director of analysis and advocacy on the Socio-Financial Rights Institute (Seri), a non-profit based mostly in Johannesburg that gives authorized help to guard and advance socio-economic rights.

Royston instructed Africa Test that the legislation and case legislation required the state to offer short-term different lodging to evictees if their eviction would make them homeless.

“Municipalities are legally obliged to offer short-term different lodging if the eviction results in homelessness, irrespective of who runs them,” she defined. “That’s a constitutional requirement.”

The Constitutional Court docket judgment within the Metropolis of Johannesburg v Blue Moonlight Properties case discovered that municipalities had been obligated to offer different housing, even in circumstances the place individuals had been being evicted by personal landowners.

LAND EXPROPRIATION WITHOUT COMPENSATION

Promise: “Each EFF municipality will eliminate apartheid spatial planning and expropriate land with out compensation nearer to inside metropolis centres to construct sustainable housing for all.”

Verdict: Municipalities can expropriate land however present legislation states expropriation have to be achieved with “simply and equitable” compensation.

Part 9.3 of South Africa’s Housing Act (1997) permits municipalities to expropriate land “for the needs of housing improvement when it comes to any nationwide housing programme”. Nonetheless, the municipality should have been unable to buy the land by means of affordable phrases set by the proprietor and it’s required to acquire permission from the member of government council chargeable for housing issues within the province.

However in response to part 25 of the Vonstitution, the state might not expropriate property with out compensation.

“In the meanwhile, because the legislation stands, any expropriation must be achieved topic to simply and equitable compensation,” Michael Clark, a authorized researcher and advocacy officer for authorized nonprofit Ndifuna Ukwazi, instructed Africa Test.

He mentioned that in response to the Structure, the market worth of property was simply one in every of many elements that may be thought of by a court docket of legislation to find out the worth of property. Different elements included the present use of the property, the historical past of acquisition and use of the property, and the extent of direct state funding within the property.

South Africa’s parliament is endeavor a course of to amend part 25 of the Structure to permit expropriation with out compensation. And a brand new expropriation invoice was gazetted in 2020 which says that “it could be simply and equitable for nil compensation to be paid the place land is expropriated within the public curiosity”.

However Nomzamo Zondo, the manager director of Seri, instructed Africa Test that the present draft of the expropriation invoice wouldn’t empower municipalities to expropriate land on their very own.

“The present course of nonetheless requires the minister of public works to execute the expropriation and this course of will nonetheless be wanted if the present draft of the expropriation invoice is enacted,” she mentioned.

FREE BASIC SERVICES

Promise: “In each EFF municipality, households which rely upon social grants will qualify without cost primary companies with out having to register on the indigent database.”

Verdict: Municipalities decide indigent family funding and the database is barely administrative.

Since 2001, municipalities have offered primary companies comparable to water and electrical energy without cost or at subsidised charges to the poorest households. These households, referred to as “indigent households”, are required to register on a database. Municipalities are partially subsidised by the nationwide authorities to cowl indigent funding.

Every municipality determines its personal standards for indigent households. In 2017, 147 municipalities categorized indigent households as these with a mixed earnings of lower than R3,200 monthly. Eleven set the factors decrease, at a mixed earnings of R1,600 monthly. Based on Statistics South Africa, 22% of households (3.51 million) had been categorized as indigent in 2017.

South Africa has a variety of totally different social grants, together with the kid assist grant, the previous age pension and the incapacity grant. Every of those grants have their very own standards decided by the nation’s social safety company which falls underneath the Division of Social Improvement.

Dr Andrew Siddle from UCT instructed Africa Test that the aim of indigent databases was for municipalities to know which households wanted funding.

“Should you don’t have a database you don’t know who you’re coping with and also you don’t know who you provide this to,” he mentioned. “It’s extra of an administrative situation than anything.”

WEALTH TAX

Promise: “Each EFF municipality will implement property wealth tax to subsidise indigent households.”

Verdict: Municipalities can’t cost earnings taxes however can decide property charges and tariffs inside sure limitations.

Municipalities can cost property charges and a surcharge on the companies they supply. Property charges are taxes based mostly in the marketplace worth of a property.

The Municipal Fiscal Powers and Features Act (2007) outlines municipalities’ powers to impose taxes. Based on part 5, municipalities should apply to the minister of finance in the event that they wish to impose a brand new municipal tax for approval.

However in response to part 229 of the Structure, “no municipality might impose earnings tax, value-added tax, basic gross sales tax, or customized responsibility”.

Michael Evans, from legislation agency Webber Wentzel and a constitutional legislation professional, instructed Africa Test municipalities had been “very restricted” in what they might do when it comes to taxes.

“They’ll cost for charges and so they can cost for companies however they wouldn’t be capable to cost a wealth tax,” he mentioned.

Dr Andrew Siddle from UCT mentioned that though municipalities had the power to find out tariffs comparable to water and sewage it “needs to be associated to the precise value of offering the service”.

Municipalities can decide the municipal valuation of properties which in flip will decide how a lot property tax have to be paid. However the Municipal Property Charges Act (2006) imposes sure limits on how property charges could be decided.

CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES

Promise: “Each EFF municipality will set up development corporations that can make use of artisans and engineers on a full time foundation to construct, preserve and refurbish all municipal infrastructure.”

Verdict: Municipalities can set up entities to offer municipal companies, depending on affordability.

Municipalities are permitted to determine corporations, often known as municipal entities. Based on part 82 of the Municipal Methods Act (2000), municipalities might “set up an organization, co-operative, belief, fund or different company entity to offer [a] municipal service as a municipal entity underneath the possession management of that municipality”.

Municipalities can even purchase possession management of an present firm “which as its major enterprise intends to offer that municipal service when it comes to a service supply settlement with the municipality”.

Michael Evans from Webber Wentzel legislation agency instructed Africa Test that municipalities needed to be the bulk shareholders of municipal entities.

“They’ll’t have a minority stake. It must be underneath the possession management of the municipality in the event that they had been to do this,” he defined.

Current municipal entities embrace the Cape City Worldwide Conference Middle which is an occasion venue owned by the Metropolis of Cape City, the provincial authorities of the Western Cape and personal companies. The Metropolis of Cape City holds 71.4% possession.

However Andrew Siddle from the College of Cape City warned that many municipalities can be unable to afford to run absolutely staffed development corporations.

“I’d say at the least half of our municipalities can’t even afford primary actions, not to mention run subtle development corporations,” he mentioned.

WATER

Promise: “EFF municipalities will discontinue personal possession of bulk water infrastructure …”

Verdict: There isn’t any privately owned bulk water infrastructure.

Bulk water infrastructure is public infrastructure through which water is collected, saved, purified and distributed. It consists of dams, water therapy services, reservoirs and bulk pipelines.

The 1997 Water Providers Act units out the regulatory framework for water companies. Based on the act, water boards are chargeable for offering water companies to municipalities and industries underneath their jurisdiction. There are 9 water boards, which embrace Rand Water, Umgeni Water and the Breede‐Gouritz Catchment Administration Company. They fall underneath the Division of Water and Sanitation.

Anton Earle is the Africa regional director of the Stockholm Worldwide Water Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on water governance. He instructed Africa Test that no bulk water infrastructure in South Africa is privately owned.

“Municipalities would typically buy bulk handled water from the water boards after which assume the obligation for the distribution, storage and provide of this water throughout municipally-maintained networks,” he mentioned.

He added that personal corporations can have concessions to deal with, retailer, and distribute water in addition to spend money on sustaining and upgrading water infrastructure, in response to agreements with municipalities. An instance of that is Silulamanzi, a personal water therapy firm given a 30 yr concession from the Mbombela municipality in Mpumalanga.

However, Earle mentioned, “there is no such thing as a possession of the water infrastructure by Silulamanzi. All of it stays the property of the municipality with the personal firm merely having a concession to function it.”

This text appeared on AfricaCheck.org, a non-partisan organisation which promotes accuracy in public debate and the media. Comply with them on Twitter: @AfricaCheck

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