Mr Sayang made the admission in response to Commissioner Oreme E. Joiner of the Local Government Commission of Inquiry, which has been setup to conduct a holistic and fair review of the administrative and financial operations of councils, with the objective of improving governance and management of grassroots affairs in line with best practices.
Addressing the permanent secretary, who was testifying as a witness before the Commission, Commissioner Joiner said: “It is interesting to note that the ministry is the enforcement agency of the [Local Government Act]. We have seen from your deliberation, it seems as if enforcement was a problem.”
Commissioner Joiner further asked why enforcement of certain requirements of the Act was a problem for the Ministry of Local Government and Lands.
In response, PS Sanyang said: “Yes, enforcement, to an extent, I would agree, has been a challenge. This is because sometimes these laws to be enforced, some people see them as some political witch-hunt.
He, nonetheless, affirmed that such is not an excuse, saying: “But that is not an excuse for not enforcing the law. The ministry under the provision of powers given to it should make sure they are enforced to the letter. This is best the case and that should be the case.
“So in other words, the Ministry should or can be blamed for non-enforcement of the Act,” Commissioner Joiner stated.
“Yeah, definitely, at some point the ministry does not enforce as required,” the PS said in agreement.
“So in essence, you have a mouth that is toothless,” the commissioner said.
However, the PS disagreed, stating: “No, it does not mean that. It might not be biting all the time, but it has its powers that it enforces.