By BO Editorial Team
CHAPTER 20 of the BLACK AGENDA on Sankarist People’s Local Government Manifesto suggests a dynamic fully responsive state form at local government level and by extension nationally. This is particularly instructive in the context of the upcoming Local Government Elections. Please send your questions, queries, comments, feedback, etc. to the following email address: [email protected]
A proposal to the people!
This Manifesto is drafted and offered for discussion and adoption by all progressive and servant leadership of the local government for 2016. This Manifesto does not belong to any political party, or any specific organisation or movement. It is a Manifesto inspired by the commitment to serve the people displayed by Thomas Sankara and is proposed in memory of Andries Tatane who died fighting for water and for a local government that put the people first!
This Manifesto contains the values of a Sankarist Local Government that puts people first and forces councillors to be accountable to the people and serve with dedication, sacrifice and commitment. Also the Manifesto has proposals for securing the democratic choices of the people for local councillors. The people, not the political party, must choose their own representatives. The local government councillor is first and foremost the servant of the people who elected them. They must listen to the people not the political party bosses.
For the last 20 years, we have experienced promises and lies. We have been disappointed! Our townships remain places of poverty, lack of housing, no jobs, bad healthcare and terrible schooling. We watch our children destroyed via boredom. We watch hopelessly as their dreams are squashed and they surrender to drugs, alcohol and violence.
Twenty-two years after democracy the political dispensation has delivered neither freedom, services nor an accountable system of governance. It is these structural failures which have led to the brutal murder of Comrade Andries Tatane and many after him during service delivery protests.
In memory of Andries Tatane, a brave committed son of the soil, we need to fight for a new and different country and local government. No more shall those we elect enrich themselves at our expense and no more shall they be accountable to their political parties and not their
people. Enough is enough. Now those we elect must serve us.
All Councillors must be servants:
Irrespective of political affiliation. All candidates must commit and subject themselves to this Manifesto. Candidates must:
- Take their mandate to govern from the people who elect them not from political parties.
- All municipality land shall be made accessible for free to the people for housing and other development projects including for agricultural purposes.
- Land occupations by the landless shall be decriminalized. Anyone who has waited for more than a year for housing or land has a legitimate right to occupy land to erect a home for her/himself.
- The asset register of the municipality shall be made public (no more theft of municipality assets).
- The housing waiting lists shall be put on the notice board for all to see and those who have received their houses shall be marked clearly.
- The total budget for salaries must not exceed 30% of the budged and there must be parity of earnings between executives, councillors and general staff.
- Open all council meetings to the public and have Monthly People’s Assemblies where the majority of people live (townships, squatter camps), to consult on all major decisions of council.
- End the tender system. Tender only in cases of highly specialized projects and even then, such tender must be in partnership with Local Government so as to build the local state capacity to deliver these services.
- Must end privatization of services and reclaim/reverse privatized state assets, including land sold to private companies.
- Criminalise the use of police to suppress service delivery protests. Demanding basic services is not a crime.
- All memoranda from the people shall be responded to within 24 hours!
- The Local Government shall be the largest employer providing secure employment, paying all a living minimum wage.
- Young people shall be placed in mass reconstruction programs for further education so as to capacitate them to rebuild society (housing, schools, roads, hospitals) on a minimum wage.
- Institute an independent commission of inquiry on corruption. Those who stole from the people shall be encouraged to confess and repent, those who don’t cooperate shall meet the full might of the law.
- They must commit to a new vision of human settlement informed by principles of a secure, happy community.
- They must commit to being recalled through a popular vote on the basis of a petition that reveals a thirty percent desire by the constituency for such a recall.
- They must commit to a democratic and transparent annual planning and review system where each area shall have a clear development plan with priorities and targets to be determined by the Community. To this end each ward plan shall be made public.
- Councillors shall live in the constituency that elected them.
- All elected representatives and senior public servants (from mayor to councillor) shall adopt the Sankara Oath and sign it before they are elected. This will ensure the use public services and quality access by all.
- End the current executive system driven by perks. End expensive luxuries, for example, expensive cars, high housing allowance etc.
- The leaders of the people must not live too far away from the life realities of those who elect them.
- There shall be 50% women representation in all local government related processes and leadership.
These are the ideals of a new Local Government that puts people first!