Minister must take a stand for democracy: DA
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance on Monday challenged acting Co-operative Governance Minister Nathi Mthethwa to tell South Africans whether he supports "ANC calls to make municipalities newly won by the DA ungovernable".
It was also in the public interest that he tell South Africans whether or not he supported the anti-democratic behaviour of ANC councillors in Plettenberg Bay's Bitou Municipality, DA spokesperson James Lorimer said in a statement.
"If he does not support their behaviour then he needs to say so because not condemning it is the same as tacit approval."
Calls to make municipalities won by the DA ungovernable had reportedly been made by the ANC's Southern Cape regional secretary Putco Mapitisa, and former Bitou ANC mayor Lulama Mvimbi, he said.
ANC councillors in Bitou appeared to be taking this call seriously judging by their disruption of council meetings.
Their disruptive behaviour paralysed the council for two weeks and was only ended when the DA obtained a court order forbidding them from continuing to disrupt meetings.
Despite this, ANC councillors continued to refuse to follow instructions given by the speaker at a meeting on Friday, Lorimer said.
"In addition to the poorly behaved ANC councillors, the ANC bussed some 300 supporters to Friday's council meeting.
‘Storm the public gallery’
"They tried to storm the already-full public gallery and broke down the council chamber doors."
In his capacity as police minister, Mthethwa should also explain why police failed to act on calls for help to control the crowd.
"He needs to answer whether police will continue to refuse to act against lawbreaking members of the ANC," Lorimer said.
Even President Jacob Zuma saw fit to highlight the importance of respecting the rules while addressing the Third Access to Justice Conference in Pretoria last week.
In particular, he emphasised how all levels of government should respect the rule of law and accept democratic processes, which included the outcome of elections.
"If the ANC does not condemn this behaviour and move to reverse it, then the implications will be grave for the future of our democracy.
"Democracy can only work if ruling parties accept being voted out of power."
It was time the ANC exercised political control over its unruly councillors.
Failure to do so would indicate that Luthuli House only believed in democracy if it produced an ANC victory and were prepared to act illegally if elections produced any other result, Lorimer said.