PRESIDENT Michael Sata has directed the newly-appointed Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) to address problems in land allocation which he said were responsible for the rampant corruption in councils.
Mr Sata said local government had been ineffective for many years and that it was now the mandate of the new commission to make it effective.
Mr Sata was speaking in Lusaka yesterday at State House when he swore-in chairperson of the commission, Steven Mushinge and his deputy, Charles Mwandila, who is former Mufulira Municipal Council town clerk.
Mr Sata said councils countrywide were faced with numerous challenges such as corruption and other malpractices and that the commission needed to immediately address them.
He said the commission should deal with land allocation which had become one area of concern and mired in corrupt practices.
The members of the commission are Maggie Kapiya, Daubt Phiri and Bernard Simpokolwe, while Chipili Katunasa-Magayane is the commission secretary.
Mr Simpokolwe is former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development in the Frederick Chiluba administration.
The President has also urged the commission to explore ways of making councils self-sustaining instead of depending on Government grants for operations.
"There is so much corruption in the councils particularly in the allocation of land. You don't have houses. Mr Chiluba sold all the houses. When there were houses, councils survived on those houses but now you don't have them.
"Find means and ways of making councils survive on their own instead of relying on grants from the Government," Mr Sata said.
The President warned that he would dissolve the newly-appointed commission the moment it failed to perform.
He said the commission should not limit its operations to Lusaka Province only but expected the members to vigorously tour all councils to establish councils' operational challenges.
"I will not hesitate to dissolve you. With the minister, I have no problems because I can change her any time but for you, I am going to waste time to swear you in again.
"Tour the whole country, move to rural councils, district councils, city councils and municipal councils and once they see you that's how they are going to function," Mr Sata said.
"The Superannuation Fund belongs to all workers. Don't just sit in your offices in Lusaka or Ndola. Use the money to tour the whole country and see for yourselves what's happening in the councils.
"Don't just make transfers from your offices because today we can't see the impact of the local government. The local government today is dead," Mr Sata said.
Speaking in an interview with journalists shortly after she witnessed the swearing-in of the commission, Local Government and Housing Minister, Nkandu Luo said she was happy that her Ministry now had a commission.
Professor Luo said the commission had a huge task of addressing challenges in areas of human resource capacity and fostering workers' positive attitude.
"People report late for duty and these are some areas the commission should immediately address including human resource capacity in the ministry," she said.