At a press conference on Sunday morning, the DA’s Gauteng leader in the provincial legislature, Solly Msimanga, said Gauteng MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Lebogang Maile had no reason for putting the Tshwane metro under administration, and they would see him in court about it.
“The MEC’s political posturing lacks credibility and substance as he did not follow due process as set out by the Constitution,” he said.
Maile later said the DA was showing desperation itself, and he had been following the correct procedures. He accused them of not understanding the process and defended his actions.
Msimanga reiterated that the DA’s opponents in the council of Tshwane had also broken the law when voting out the DA’s mayor and speaker after a dispute about who would preside over the meeting on Thursday.
Msimanga described the attempted motion of no confidence in mayor Stevens Mokgalapa as a “coup”. The high court later overturned the results of the Thursday vote, which saw both ANC and EFF councillors voting in favour of a change of administration in the city.
The DA was highly critical of Maile sending a Cogta representative to preside over the Tshwane no-confidence vote despite a vacancy not being declared in council for such a representative to fill. Msimanga said this was evidence of a mere political stratagem by the “desperate” ANC to once again get access to the city’s funds.
“The first step in the ANC-led Gauteng provincial government’s plan to hijack the City of Tshwane was the attempted coup d’etat on Thursday night when they tried to illegally appoint an acting speaker and remove mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and speaker Katlego Mathebe from office.
“These resolutions were subsequently suspended by the North Gauteng High Court on Friday afternoon, pending a hearing on the 17th of December. This is an indication that the ANC-led Gauteng provincial government is acting against the Constitution, and against the interests of the people of Tshwane.”
On Friday, Maile announced that he intended to place Tshwane under administration from the ANC-led provincial government.
However, Msimanga said Maile had no legal basis to do this, and he had already broken procedure by first announcing his intentions to the media and only then sending a letter to the city’s government. The DA alleges that Maile should also first have informed the national minister.
The legal grounds, according to local government law, were also absent, Msimanga maintained.
“Section 139 of the Constitution says that a provincial executive may only intervene in a municipality when it cannot or does not fulfil its Constitutional or legal obligations; cannot or does not fulfil its Constitutional or legal obligation to approve a budget and revenue raising measures to give effect to the budget; is in financial crisis placing it in serious or persistent material breach of its obligations to provide basic services or fails to meet its financial obligations.
“Neither of these three circumstances applies to the City of Tshwane. The MEC’s attempts to place the City of Tshwane under administration are unlawful, undemocratic and reprehensible.”
He alleged that the ANC was just trying to get their hands in “the cookie jar” of Tshwane’s budget again ahead of local government elections in 2021, by using the city’s finances to dish out tenders to companies that would help the party to fund its elections, which he alleged has always been the ANC’s modus operandi. He further questioned the logic of Maile targeting Tshwane, when there were other ANC-governed municipalities in Gauteng in a far worse condition than Tshwane.
“These failed attempts by MEC Maile are part of a broader plan by the ANC-led Gauteng provincial government to hijack the City of Tshwane and gain control of the City’s fiscus as we move towards the 2021 local government elections. Money meant for service delivery will no doubt be diverted to campaigning activities.”
“You just have to go to Emfuleni to see for yourself,” he said.
Msimanga said that if his party was ousted in Tshwane through a legally sound process, “we are democrats, we will accept it … as we did in Johannesburg”.
“We look forward to having the opportunity on the 17th December to lay bare the true motives behind these attempts by the ANC-led provincial government to derail the progress made by the DA in the City of Tshwane.
“Despite all this, the City continues to deliver on its core mandate, and remains financially sound, despite the legacy of looting and illegal contracts left behind by the previous ANC administration.
“We will continue fighting, using whatever constitutional mechanisms possible, to ensure that more of our country is not captured and used to advance the interests of individuals who want to get their hands on taxpayers’ money for their own benefit.”