The ANC calls for an urgent investigation into the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill

Cameron Dugmore. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency (ANA)

Cameron Dugmore. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 22, 2024


Cape Town - As the deadline draws closer for public comment on the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill, the ANC has asked Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Thembisile Nkadimeng to launch an urgent investigation into the controversial bill.

Cameron Dugmore, ANC Leader of the opposition in the provincial legislature, has written to Minister Thembisile Nkadimeng, requesting an urgent investigation into the bill, saying that if passed, the bill would have serious implications for both the provincial executive committee of the Western Cape as well as the national executive.

“Your office is no doubt aware of the three legal opinions from legal advisers within the legislature. All these opinions express the view that this bill is unconstitutional.

“Despite these legal opinions, the legislature’s ad hoc committee on provincial powers has decided to proceed with public hearings starting on Monday, January 29,” said Dugmore.

He said the bill was unprecedented in the history of the legislature and yet it was to proceed with public hearings of a bill that had been declared unconstitutional by its own legal advisers.

“In my view, the memorandum on the objects of the bill does not comply with the rules of the legislature {170 (3)}.

“There has been no assessment of the financial implications of the bill. There is no statement indicating which institution would be responsible for carrying out the costs of implementing the legislation,” said Dugmore.

In his letter, Dugmore said: “I would request the minister that you consider conducting an urgent investigation into the process and content of this bill. Your urgent consideration of this request would be highly appreciated.”

Commenting on the bill, Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) Western Cape chairperson Unathi Ntame said they denounce the bill and warn against its weaponisation against the spirit of unity upon which the South African Constitution was built.

“with the bill’s intention to devolve further powers from the national government, thus going beyond the prescribed provincial powers outlined in Schedules 4 and 5 of the Constitution, the bill sets ground for secession, an act that, if effected, will constitute a constitutional crisis of the highest proportion.

“Its combative devolution agenda can have no positive developmental outcome(s) for the poor other than setting us back to many decades ago when South Africa was under the yoke of apartheid,” said Ntame.

He said there is no constitutional provision for any province within the borders of the Republic of South Africa to opt out of South Africa and declare itself a state, which is what this bill seeks to set grounds for.

“We call on society to publicly reject this bill through written submissions as well as oral submissions at different public hearings that are scheduled to take place across the province.

“We also call on the unity of the progressive left in the Western Cape to apply its political ingenuity and agility to vehemently reject this bill and expose the narrow interests of its proponents.”

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