Editorials 25.8.2016 07:01 am

New DA mayors must be wary

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga.
Picture: Christine Vermooten

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga. Picture: Christine Vermooten

The newly established mayors will have to be doubly wary of making any empty promises and delivering on those they believe can come to fruition.

It could have come as no surprise to the Democratic Alliance that the biggest challenge in the metropoles, where they now hold somewhat tenuous sway, will be service delivery.

Much of the swing away from the ANC-led councils was fuelled by the perception that the ratepayers had been fed a succession of empty promises, a secondary, integrally linked challenge, which the DA councils will be desperate to distance themselves from.

Yet, the newly elected mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, had hardly had the chance to adjust the chair in his mayoral office, when chaos erupted over one of the more sensitive of delivery issues, housing.

It is not without cause that the prognostications of the analysts running along the lines that the ousted ANC would attempt to make the new DA councils ungovernable were given some credence by the invasion of housing – and the subsequent violent evictions – in Mamelodi, Nellmapius and Mabopane this week.

It is also of more than passing interest that the EFF, who have propelled the DA into their hold on the key Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay municipalities by refusing to vote for the ANC, have strong – some might argue iconoclastic – views on land distribution.

This area is one where the two parties are unlikely to reach accord and this schism is sure to become a future sticking point. Though it is improbable that the evictions were initiated at council level, it is certainly a harbinger of the brickbats the DA councils are sure to face, as fires of aspiration are stoked by expectation on one side and shortsighted political expediency on the other.

But the bottom line is that if the promises of insurrection are proved correct, the new mayors will have to be doubly wary of making any empty promises and delivering on those they believe can come to fruition.

 

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