Battle for Tshwane: Could the City be heading for a by-election?

2020-03-05 08:16
Tshwane council chamber.

Tshwane council chamber. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Netwerk24)

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Sources claim the City of Tshwane has run out of chances and will most certainly be dissolved this week.

This is on the back of a multi-party decision not to go ahead with a scheduled sitting to elect a new mayor.

Both Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile and the ANC in the province will hold separate briefings on Thursday on the state of the capital city.

Maile is expected to make announcements on the embattled municipality alongside Premier David Makhura in Johannesburg while the ANC's provincial secretary Jacob Khawe is to hold a briefing in Tshwane immediately after the government communicates its position.

"We have opted for administration, a [Section 139 (1)(c) of the Constitution], which means it must be dissolved. There is no other way really," an insider told News24 ahead of the media announcements on Thursday.

Three options

The Constitution allows several interventions in municipalities which include issuing directives, assuming responsibilities, dissolving the municipality, taking steps to ensure the budget is passed or imposing a recovery.

If a municipality is dissolved, a by-election has to take place 90 days later.

The ANC's national working committee (NWC) met with its regional and provincial counterparts to discuss the matter on Monday.

Insiders had told News24 three options were given to them to mull over.

Proposals considered included a power-sharing deal with the EFF, waiting until 2021 to try take over the municipality or placing it under administration.

The latter was regarded as the most suitable way forward. 

Members of the NWC have ruled out working with the EFF due to a lack of trust and inconsistency, which they said had been displayed by the red berets.

The ANC has turned down all attempts by the EFF to work together in major municipalities, including Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Johannesburg.

Tshwane has been failing to focus on service delivery amid political battles and numerous scandals involving the DA's mayors since it headed up the municipality in 2016.

Mayor scandals

Last week, council failed to appoint a new mayor following Stevens Mokgalapa's last day in office, placing it at risk of dissolution because it failed to pass its adjustment budgets by the end of February 2020.

Mokgalapa resigned after his own party gave him an ultimatum. He had been on suspension after an audio clip of him, engaging in an intimate act with former roads and transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge.

He was appointed in 2019 ahead of the national polls in a bid, by the DA, to stabilise the municipality following the resignation of Solly Msimanga.

Msimanga also resigned with a cloud over his head, which included allegations of the irregular awarding of a multibillion-rand contract to GladAfrica.

The DA has blamed the ANC and EFF for working together to collapse the municipality.

READ | EFF, DA at odds over Tshwane coalition talks

On Wednesday the DA's top brass, including interim leader John Steenhuisen, federal council chairperson Helen Zille and the head of its governance unit James Selfe, met with the caucus and addressed the media.

Steenhuisen said the party was speaking to several parties in council about the way forward, while the ANC itself previously expressed a keenness for a multi-party solution. 

With an impasse in place, residents in the capital city have complained about a lack of services, citing water and electricity as major concerns.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  politics
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