October 4, 1990
East London (Democratic Party)
John Badenhorst in 2009
With regard to local government, the time lines are different. Time constraints don’t determine the pace of development. For me the issues are polarization and the lack of expertise in running a municipality.
Black Local Authorities were non-viable a) because there is no industrial or economic core and b) because the manpower running them was wasteful. The principle of law and order was not imposed. We need to stick to two things: a) stick to the regulations, laws and proclamations over governance locally and b) be aware that a city has intricate financial organizations and structures. We must not be simplistic.
A normalized city includes all residents voting. We must bring representation on city council of all people. The problem is the transition period. We need to expose people to the mechanisms and issues with regard to government. This includes a discussion of civics. We need to open our books with regard to rent, housing, cross-subsidization. The blacks have myths. They understand little at the grass roots as to how things work. The key is to expose people to the issues. The city serves 600,000 people with only 22,000 rate payers. People have been excluded and do not understand.
We are one city. Natural boundaries have to be taken into account. There must be a common rates base. The problem is that blacks must contribute as well though one has to distinguish more from less affluent. One other aspect is that Duncan Village (the township) was never viable. We must reincorporate. The same is true of Beacon Bay (a wealthy white suburb) on the other side.
With regard to the Ciskei, South Africa will shed the Westminster System and move to the U.S. Model with a two house legislative branch. There will be rights of individuals and an independent judiciary. We will have a states and counties situation and thus will incorporate Ciskei, the white corridor and parts of the Transkei. We could also have a confederation of municipalities at one level. What council is looking at is practical ways of making it work. The problem is the rule of law in black people’s heads is non-existent.
I am very comfortable with Thornhill (Proposal for Local Government Reform). The debate will be on actual enfranchisement of people. There will be the issue of natural vs. fictitious people, eg. the ownership of buildings and the second vote. The models are good and provide a progression.
With negotiations, there should not be a definite time scale process, such as for the opening of amenities.
There should be decentralization with regional structures and local government, with the latter doing service delivery. Regional government would have responsibility for education and law enforcement. We could possibly expand the regional services council system at the regional level. The problem is that the homelands are at too high a level. They are not states but regions.
The key is simple government with highly qualified officials. I would structure things regionally with many regions, 100 or so. Three levels of government are enough. The revenue is generated at the regional level plus there must be a state equalizer.
With regard to the public service, we are an equal opportunity employer. We should not have affirmative action. With regard to city funds, there will be no changes. A very large percentage goes to the poorest sections of the city already.
With regard to development, East London’s major problem is that the whole city revolves around one industry, Mercedes Benz. Thirty related companies go with it.
We need to identify areas where we have comparative advantage, develop infrastructures and support these. There are two areas:
1. Tourism- Sea side attractions plus second homes as well as those who look at the environment, as well as international tourism.
2. The textile industry- we have a humid climate, clean water and service sites. The problem is disposal and the need to export to Africa.
John Badenhorst continues to serve in Local Government. He currently serves on the New Buffalo City Metro which includes East London, King Williams Town and Bisho. He is a member of the African National Congress.