By Tshepo Vincent Sechele

Freedom is meant to be a significant and momentous milestone in the history of South Africa considering the pre-1994 era characterised by gross brutality and inhumanity directed at black people. This era was known as apartheid.

As a young person growing up in the Vaal region (under Emfuleni Local Municipality), south of Johannesburg in Gauteng, freedom is a bitter pill to swallow.

About Emfuleni Local Municipality

Emfuleni Local Municipality is a municipality situated in the Sedibeng region in Gauteng province. Emfuleni is known for its rich history and is home to some prominent leaders who have gone out to make history in different sectors of society.

Over the years, the state of service delivery, leadership and management of this municipality has tremendously deteriorated,  negatively impacting the lives of the citizens and subjecting them to hopelessness. Furthermore, this has had a negative impact in terms of youth participation in the democratic processes of our country. This municipality has, for the longest time been under an uncaring government. Over the years, the state of service delivery has deteriorated due to maladministration, corruption, and poor governance.

Previous audits have revealed the poor use of the municipality’s finances amounting to over R100 million to fight legal battles against its employees. Furthermore, the city is notorious for abusing for failing to comply with provisions of the PFMA in carrying out its duties.

As a young person born and bred in Emfuleni, the taste of freedom is bittersweet and leaves one questioning whether freedom is meant for a few people or is just a fallacy. As a vibrant member of the community and an advocate for service delivery, the appetite for waging war on ethical leadership is constantly on the table.

The municipality has collapsed and all efforts to resuscitate it have proven to be a futile exercise, particularly if all those who want to fix are the same officials who have brought the municipality to its knees.

As a former ward committee member for the 2016 to 2021 municipal term, I observed with despondency and with awe to the municipality’s lack of urgency in addressing service delivery issues. After this, I once raised a motion to have the municipal council dissolved in terms of Section 139 (1)(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa instead of placing the municipality under administration.

It was during an NCOP sitting held in Mafatsane Hall (Evaton) in 2018 that I proposed this motion. Weeks later I was shocked to discover that the decision to place the municipality under administration was successful. This was a clear indication that there was no political will to protect and uphold the rule of law. In my view, freedom under the current leadership of Emfuleni is an empty rhetoric and a fallacy.


About the author:

Tshepo Sechele is an activist, facilitator, educator, and mentor from Bophelong. He holds an Honours Degree in Education Management & Leadership from North-West University. Tshepo is also the CEO and Founder of Sechele Facilitation and Training, a 100% black youth-owned company. Tshepo is a recipient of the 100 South African Shining Stars (2023) Award, Award for Best ward Committee Member and Best Ward Committee Secretary in both 2019 and 2020 respectively. His achievement in the last decade is an Award for Best Youth in the Sedibeng District (2014).

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