Acting mayor Ian Neilson has warned that the governance of the City will be compromised if a new mayoral committee isn’t appointed soon. He delayed the announcement of a new mayoral committee until 3pm today pending the outcome of De Lille’s urgent application in the Western Cape High Court.
“I will not be able to wait any longer than that because without a mayoral committee, from early in the coming week the governance of the City will be compromised. Among other things, a mayco is required to give political guidance to the budget process for the forthcoming municipal financial year. I will convene a mayco meeting for Tuesday morning.
Ratepayers, however, say the City’s “sad situation” is bedevilled by party politics after judgment was reserved in the legal battle. Jenny McQueen, chairperson of the Green Point Ratepayers’ & Residents’ Association, said the headless City is in a sad situation.
“The ratepayers are not aligned to any political party. It is sad to see a City like this technically headless. I think this is an issue the ruling party needs to sort out. I don’t know how they are going to do this. We as ratepayers only want services. So far the services have continued well despite the drama on top,” she said.
Philip Bam, secretary of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, said the City has an acting mayor but politics have bedevilled the City. “The party political system is not right. It is working against the ratepayers and citizens. The City administration is not dependent on mayco members and whoever else. Services go on even without them,” he said.
Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, said she is concerned and disappointed about the fact that it actually places the City and its people in a state of limbo. “At the end of the day, we judge performance of the City by service delivery, and if this is compromised, this directly affects the lives of many people in Cape Town - and once again, those who are most vulnerable and marginalised are those who are most dependent on the administration’s performance.
“We would prefer efforts to be extended to deal with the real problems we have such as drought and traffic, as opposed to bringing internal conflict into the public domain,” she said.
All other aspects of De Lille’s application will be heard on May 25. A lengthy court case on Friday prevented the appointment of an interim mayoral committee and the election of a permanent mayor and deputy mayor.
The Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of De Lille’s application to interdict the Independent Electoral Commission from filling the vacancy after her axing from the DA. Some staff in the City’s administration told the Cape Argus the confusion had made their work difficult without an accountable mayoral committee member.
Arguing for the City on Friday, advocate Andrew Breitenbach SC said Neilson would not be appointing a new mayoral committee as he was awaiting the outcome of the case.
Judge Patrick Gamble said the DA could instruct Neilson to appoint an interim mayco, or the same one, to ensure stability, as he was a functionary of the party.