'Political parties in Tshwane working together to make sure council functions, delivers' - mayor

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Randall Williams.
Randall Williams.
Supplied, DA
  • Tshwane mayor Randall Williams says council sittings have stabilised in the past six months.
  • Several council meetings were marred by disruptions and walkouts in the beginning of last year.
  • The meetings were affected by political battles between the different political parties in council. 

The City of Tshwane council, which was marred by ongoing disruptions and walkouts at the beginning of last year, appears to now have stabilised.

This, according to Tshwane mayor, Randall Williams, who briefed the media on the developments in the capital city in the past six months.

During the first part of 2020, before council was placed under administration, political battles between the DA, EFF and ANC played out in several council meetings, which often led to the collapse of meetings as opposition parties staged walkouts.

Other meetings did not quorate as opposition parties did not attend.

The dissolution of the council, announced last March, was, in part, borne out of its inability to deal with any business on the council's agenda, News24 previously reported.

READ | Gauteng govt approaches ConCourt to challenge finding that dissolution of Tshwane council was unlawful

This included the election of a new mayor after the DA's Stevens Mokgalapa stepped down amid an alleged sex scandal.

Legal challenge history

However, the DA challenged the decision in the High Court, arguing that Gauteng Premier Makhura and his exco had dissolved the council for political reasons.

In April 2020, the court ruled in the DA's favour and found the decision to dissolve the council was unlawful.

"Interference from one sphere of government into another sphere, as we have here, is seen as most intrusive and can only be resorted to in exceptional circumstances," the court found.

Makhura then appealed the High Court judgment pending an application for direct access to the Constitutional Court to challenge the matter in the apex court.

While the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the Gauteng government's appeal and ruled in favour of the DA, paving the way for councillors to be reinstated, the DA also launched an application to have the High Court judgment implemented pending any appeal processes.

This led to the reinstatement of council in November last year, where Williams was elected as the new mayor.

TIMELINE | From the dissolution of Tshwane's council to the election of a new mayor

Council stabilisation

"Before the City was placed under administration, there had been a number of months where council as a governance structure was not functioning properly," Williams said on Tuesday.

"I am pleased to note that in the last six months, all of the City's council meetings have convened properly and deliberated carefully on reports."

"We have had robust debate on items, and collectively the political parties in Tshwane are working together to make sure that council functions and delivers on its legislative duties."

Williams added that council had used hybrid meetings where a limited number of councillors were present in the chamber while the larger majority connected online via Teams.

"This has ensured that the work of council is not hampered by the impact of Covid-19. We have come a long way indeed, and we are grateful that council has been functional so far."

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