National 10.9.2016 06:30 am

DA mayors are sweeping clean

Newly elected Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba is sworn in by Judge President, Dunstan Mlambo during an event at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein, in which he and his MMC's were sworn into office, 26 August 2016.   Picture: Neil McCartney

Newly elected Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba is sworn in by Judge President, Dunstan Mlambo during an event at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein, in which he and his MMC's were sworn into office, 26 August 2016. Picture: Neil McCartney

The axing of controversial Pikitup managing director Amanda Nair yesterday is further evidence the DA has gone on the offensive to try to establish its authority after success in local elections.

All indications are that the DA is under pressure to show substantial performance in the early parts of its terms of office in municipalities it gained in the 2016 local government elections. And, according to political analysts, the official opposition is using the “window of opportunity” to establish a credible presence as South Africans move towards the 2019 national elections.

“The party is eager to show it’s a new broom that will sweep clean,” according to analyst Daniel Silke. “They want to expose the excess and corruption and are clear about efforts to destabilise its rule.”

Yesterday, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, who was elected in a coalition government following his candidacy for the DA, suggested the city had information which led it to conclude that various incidents of illegal land occupation across the municipality were politically motivated by the ANC.

He added that the ruling party was “hell-bent” on destabilising the city. Mashaba further promised to complete a “credible and transparent” housing waiting list, which he would sign off on in 90 days.

“There are people who have been on the city’s housing waiting list since 1996/97 and still do not have access to proper housing.

“We have set out to fast-track the handover of title deeds. We acknowledge that title deeds would enable residents to access bank loans, giving them access to the economy and thereby empowering residents with an important tool to lift themselves out of poverty,” he said.

The ANC in Gauteng disputed this allegation and instead cited that Mashaba should come to it with proper evidence in this regard.

“He doesn’t have a plan on housing but wants to give the impression that the ANC caused delays,” said spokesperson Jolidee Matongo.

“We ask Mr Mashaba to come to us and then build houses. We can help and we know he isn’t experienced. We wish him luck in his 90-days promise and, if he makes it, we will congratulate him.”

Mashaba was trying to paint the ANC in a bad light, to try to make it seem as if they were “bad losers”, he added.

“We have accepted that we have lost. We are going to sit on the benches and make sure housing projects continue.”

Adding to the DA’s rapid offensive to try to establish its authority was the axing of controversial Pikitup managing director Amanda Nair yesterday following long-standing allegations by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union and charges related to recruitment and remuneration of employees.

Just recently, City of Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga laid charges of corruption against three senior officials in the previous ANC administration and plans to put an end to blue-light brigades.

Silke said it must be remembered that the DA was a minority government, and it needed to show others it was serious about delivery and its intention to root out those in bureaucracy who had not performed.

“They have been given a window of opportunity in former ANC strongholds … for them establishing a credible presence is vitally important as we move towards 2019. We are currently in a permanent election cycle in South Africa.

“So, the pressure is on for them to sustain this performance.”

Analyst Shadrack Gutto added that the results of the election had left those councillors who were promised jobs and others who signed off on tenders “very bitter”. A serious dialogue on destabilisation needed to occur, he said.

“The more they destabilise, the more they damage the economy.

“This is politics – they will try to mobilise mobs to shake up the system to show the DA can’t govern.

“Right now people are bitter as they lost jobs and tenders and they thought the ANC would rule until Jesus came.” However, the rule of law should be followed instead of “firing people left and right”, he said.

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