Cape Town - The DA’s introduction of a bill in the legislature that calls for the devolution of national powers to the Western Cape has been slated by the opposition.
Chairperson of the standing committee on premier and constitutional matters, Christopher Fry (DA), tabled the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill on Friday.
Fry said: “Among the things, what the bill seeks to achieve is to create a mechanism for the legislature to introduce national legislation in the National Council of Provinces through its delegates.”
Fry said if passed, the province would assert existing powers or seek additional powers in the areas of policing and public transport, including municipal transport.
Through the bill, the province also wants to have a say in energy matters, including generation, transmission and reticulation; international trade and harbours.
He said the bill would be deliberated on in the next meeting of the Standing Committee on Friday, June 9.
Leader of the provincial opposition, Cameron Dugmore (ANC), said the bill made it clear the DA wants a separate republic of the Western Cape.
“This bill is clothed in the language of devolution but is intended to pacify their right-wing allies.”
He said the DA was failing to properly use the powers they already had in the health and education sectors. He said the province had dropped to fourth place for matric results and health facilities were inadequately staffed.
“Very few people take the dishonest, anti-poor, corrupt DA seriously any more. This bill is stillborn and will never see the light of day.”
Good Party MPL Peter de Villiers said the introduction of the bill was a DA public relations exercise.
He said this was because the Constitution already provided for the assignment of functions from the national sphere of government to the provincial and local spheres of government.
De Villiers said former DA Transport MEC Robin Carlisle signed an agreement to transfer the Golden Arrow contracts to the City, and to transfer the public transport permitting function to the City, in 2014.
“Nine years later and they have still not done so. Perhaps they should lead by example – by implementing the devolution of appropriate powers.”