If Mayor Patricia de Lille was expecting stormy weather at yesterday morning’s City Council meeting, it never happened. Or maybe it was the lull before the storm.
She used the meteorological metaphor throughout her mayoral address. The ANC were out, apparently, to “create a tempest of intrigue”. Their rainmakers were trying to create “a storm in a teacup”. She hoped they found themselves redeployed by more senior comrades “to make storms elsewhere”. And finally, “the wisdom for us all is knowing who the rainmakers are”.
So what was wrong with making rain? wondered Jerimia Thuysma.
“I am a rainmaker of the ANC,” he announced. “Rain is a wonderful thing.”
And for the rest of the morning proceedings were conducted in collegial good humour, except when ANC frontbencher Tony Ehrenreich was rude to speaker Dirk Smit, who had just informed him he had 15 seconds left to pose his question to the mayor.
“You can’t blame me for your inability to understand the question,” snapped Ehrenreich.
Smit kept his cool. “What’s your question?” he persisted. Whereupon Ehrenreich was ruder still, instructing him to “listen to the tapes”.
But thereafter witticisms abounded. De Lille told how a ward councillor had phoned her from a township house, complaining: “People are shooting over our heads. What must I do?”
“Keep your head down,” suggested someone in the council.
Then Smit announced that a silver Toyota Camry had been left unlocked with items in it. “You are advised to go to your vehicle and save what’s left,” he suggested to whoever owned it.
In the council’s basement parking garage, nogal.
Andile Lili of the ANC was making heavy weather of a speech (no |thanks to the mayor’s metaphor) when Koos Bredenhand interrupted him to complain that a councillor had asked if he were sober. “It’s a very offensive question,” explained Bredenhand.
The Speaker hadn’t heard the remark and said he would check the tapes for that, too. But even the normally belligerent Bredenhand later became more agreeable and dedicated his three minutes’ speaking time to the speaker, as a birthday present.
It wasn’t as many as the 67 minutes dedicated to Nelson Mandela on his birthday, but for Bredenkamp, who only had three minutes, it was darem iets.
Anwar Adams of the PAC opposed the leasing of 1.5 hectares to the Strand Bowling Club for 10 years because “bowling is a dying sport”.
Dave Venter of the DA couldn’t believe his ears. “I am astonished that councillors think bowls is a dying sport,” he retorted. He should have explained it was just the bowlers who kept kicking the bucket.
Cope’s Kent Morkel thought Cape Town itself was “a dying city”, which was why having Manchester United play in the stadium last Saturday was a good thing, even though it cost ratepayers millions. It all helped to market the city.
But Lili’s main “disappointment” was that he couldn’t get tickets for the game from Patricia de Lille.
He said the council should have considered endorsing the expenditure of R3.5m before the game, not after. Now it was too late for tears, or tickets.
Perhaps the mayor would give sympathetic consideration to his request on the next occasion, in one of her sunnier moments.