Chaos as ANC disrupts council

ct Kuthula Mamba_0179 done INSLA CARRIED AWAY: ANC councillor Kuthula Mamba dances with a makeshift AK47 during a rowdy meeting in the Civic Centre yesterday. Photo: Bheki Radebe

Zara Nicholson

Metro Writer

ANC councillors chanted slogans, banged on desks and dumped documents on the floor of the city council chamber.

Their undisciplined actions saw yesterday’s meeting disrupted for hours as they objected to the draft budget.

It contains increases for rates, water and electricity.

Speaker Dirk Smit was unable to control the meeting.

Things became heated as ANC councillors accused the Speaker of ignoring opposition councillors.

At the centre of the chaos was the 2014/2015 draft budget set to go out for public comment.

The ANC refused to vote on the budget after Mayor Patricia de Lille presented it to council.

De Lille said the draft would have an operating budget of about R28 billion and a capital budget of just over R6bn.

The city was proposing a 6 percent increase in rates, 7.6 percent for electricity, 8 percent for water and sanitation and a 5.9 percent hike for solid waste.

De Lille said they were smaller than last year’s hikes.

After hours of what some councillors called “pandemonium”, the draft budget was approved by 132 of the 142 councillors present.

ANC councillors said they were unable to decide on the draft as they had not had an opportunity to go through the documents.

ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe said that according to the Municipal Finance Management Act, the yearly budget had to be accompanied by the necessary documents.

“We have not received any draft resolutions and if the council wants us to apply our minds, then the documents should have been issued to us 72 hours before,” Sotashe said.

Smit explained that it was a draft budget which would go out for public comment once the council had voted on it.

He had taken legal advice which said a decision could be made on the draft budget.

ANC councillors then protested loudly, shouting that correct procedure was being flouted. Smit was unable to bring the meeting to order, leading to an adjournment of nearly two hours.

Chanting and singing from the ANC benches continued and members later threw the draft budget documents on to the floor in the middle of the chamber.

Sotashe said Smit had misled the council as he had not sought the advice of the city’s lawyer.

“We spoke to the lawyer and he said the Speaker did not ask him for legal advice. Mr Speaker we are expressing our disgust.

“This is not a DA council, this is a multi-party council,” Sotashe said.

Smit ruled that the meeting would continue despite the ongoing interruptions.

De Lille appealed to councillors to continue with the business of the day saying “we are bordering on ill-discipline and abusing the rules of council”.

The meeting eventually carried on without further disruptions, but many DA councillors said the ANC’s actions were part of their electioneering.

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