Discontent over City of Cape Town’s refusal to submit to Western Cape legislature
Cape Town - The Western Cape opposition is upset by the City of Cape Town’s refusal to submit to the legislature and as a result has put Local Government MEC Anton Bredell on the spot.
In recent weeks Bredell has been forced to reply to questions about the City with a three-paragraph statement that reads in part: “This question relates to the affairs of the City of Cape Town. The City maintains that legislature questions are intended to hold the executive accountable for their official decisions and actions, and cannot be used to hold local government accountable for its decisions and actions.
“The City further maintains that the mayor and City Manager are accountable to the City Council for the exercise of their duties, not to the provincial legislature.”
The City has claimed that there is no statutory provision that requires them to provide information relating to, or answers to, parliamentary questions, which has in turn meant that Bredell has been unable to respond to questions about them.
Local government spokesperson Rowena van Wyk said: “The City has raised the matter of legislature questions with the MEC, and he has in turn sought the opinion of senior counsel. Once this opinion is obtained, the MEC will respond to the City.”
However, opposition members smell a rat.
ANC provincial local government spokesperson Danville Smith said: “The ANC will be writing to the premier and the chairperson of the standing committee on local government asking whether they are condoning the cover-up action by the City, and we will be demanding that officials from the City account in the committee.
“We will also be making a Promotion of Access to Information Act application to the City demanding answers to our questions. The City had better refer us to the legislation that they base their arrogance on.”
Good party MPL Brett Herron said: “This is a very serious matter and a question of constitutionality. The MEC was conducting oversight and exercising his duty of oversight and accountability until we asked a question about a specific tender in the City of Cape Town.
“Then we received the alarming response that the City refused to answer the question. The MEC failed to take action and basically capitulated to the city. This is his dereliction of duty.
“The City’s conduct is obstructionist and raises a lot of questions about what they have to hide. I haven’t seen the MEC fail to provide answers about any other municipality in the province, just the City of Cape Town.”
Meanwhile, despite an earlier assurance that it would respond by deadline to queries sent to it on Monday by the Argus, the City last night said they could only respond on Thursday.