The DA’s comments about the use of bullying tactics against the City of Tshwane’s speaker to force a change of government reflects a party losing its grip on Pretoria.
This was the sentiment of Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile who was reacting to comments made by the DA’s Gauteng chairperson, Mike Moriarty, who inferred he was using his provincial position to do the ANC’s bidding and trying to help the party reclaim Tshwane.
“The DA has to attack us in the manner they are, because that is a reflection of a last kick of a dying horse,” Maile said on Monday.
“You will remember that they are badly bruised. In Jozi, they tried these tricks and did not succeed, and we intervened decisively.
“We are going to intervene decisively and whatever happens in the council [Tshwane] must happen based on the will of the majority of councillors.”
Maile was referring to a special council sitting earlier this month, which collapsed following disagreements about the agenda.
The sitting – which was meant to deal with motions of no confidence in the mayor, speaker, acting speaker and chair of chairs – descended into chaos when parties battled over the sequence of the motions.
Arguments led to shouting matches, disruptions, protests and a scuffle between ANC members and the chief of staff in the speaker’s office.
Mathebe refused to bend to calls by the ANC and EFF to change the order in which the motions would be heard, or to recuse herself, which ultimately led to the collapse of the council as the two parties staged a walkout.
In a statement, Moriarty said Maile’s bullying tactics were focused on the speaker, Katlego Mathebe.
“The truth is that Maile believes that the only person standing in the ANC’s way [of grabbing] power is the speaker.
“Hence, his attacks, which have become personal. He cannot grab power. He is frustrated and resents being shown up for being powerless.
“The latest round in the Tshwane saga exposes MEC Lebogang Maile for what he essentially is, a bully. Over the past few weeks, he has sent letters and made media statements regarding the Tshwane speaker, not necessarily in that order. But his huffing and puffing will not blow the Tshwane house down,” Moriarty said.
Maile rubbished these sentiments, saying Moriarty was a confused and strange fellow who was extremely bitter.
He said the department’s intervention was to ensure that conditions were conducive for the council to make determinations.
“From a departmental point of view, we are clear that Section 154 of the Constitution requires of us to consistently provide leadership and support to municipalities, but the Constitution as well requires that we work in the spirit of co-operative governance.
“That is why we didn’t jump to conclusions when the council could not conclude its business, but we opted to approach the speaker even before going to the whips of political parties.”
Maile added the department had approached the speaker, despite receiving complaints about how she was running the council.
He said the department’s sole interest was that the council conducted its business with integrity to make sure the residents of Tshwane received quality services.
Maile added it was still weighing up its options on how to direct the council, saying it would make an announcement later this week.
“The determination we are going to make is going to be in the interest of the people of Tshwane and it’s going to be decisive and will be based on the fundamental tenants of our Constitution and democracy.”