The Machiavellian views presented by DA activist Thulani Dasa from Khayelitsha (“ANC must get its facts straight on Western Cape’s Powers Bill”, Cape Argus, January 22) is proof that the DA’s own members do not understand the bill.
It shows that there is little, if any, understanding among DA members of the legal frameworks governing the country.
The facts, not only of the ANC but of legal experts and members of the general public, included but is not limited to the following:
Fact 1: Although described as “devolution”, it is a bill designed to “usurp” national government’s role in the domain of the Western Cape, which is the only province it leads. If the DA believes it can serve and improve service delivery in national government, then why has it not done so, using the several inter-governmental structures and its participation in the National Assembly and NCOP to bring about the change it seeks?
Fact 2: Even with the current constitutional powers that the DA has, it has not been able to address historical injustices and marginalisation of poor black people under the old apartheid system, who continue to face significant socioeconomic challenges. We challenge Dasa to explain in detail what services and programmes the DA has implemented in Khayelitsha that have improved the quality of lives of people. The W Cape Provincial Legislature records adequately show the disparities in DA services between white elite areas and black areas in the Western Cape.
Fact 3: On the issue of community safety for example, the DA not only adopted a combative approach to national government but specifically ignored national legislative provisions to establish Community Police Forum (CPF).
Budget allocations on this issue show that the DA instead resourced more, selected neighbourhood watch structures in privileged areas of the province..
Fact 4: The DA, which claims to be transparent and democratic, refuses to release and make public a forensic report into serious allegations of corruption in the City of Cape Town’s Housing Maintenance Department. The Hawks are investigating this.
Fact 5: In terms of education, the DA makes reckless calls for devolution of national powers, claiming that they can govern better. Yet on the first day of the 2024 school year, thousands of learners were without school placements.
Fact 6: DA members do not know and are choosing to selectively remember or forget that the now DA (previously NP and DP) was one of the parties that participated in drafting and adopting this Constitution.
Additionally, the current Premier Winde of the W Cape Province and all DA members in the National Assembly, NCOP and Provincial Legislatures swore, when taking their oaths to “obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other laws of the Republic”.
Fact 7: DA members do not know and are choosing to selectively remember or forget that the DA (previously NP and DP) was one of the parties that participated in drafting and adopting this Constitution.
Fact 8: Opinions from the W Cape Legislature’s own legal advisers state:
◆ The Constitutional and other courts have restated the principle that no sphere of government may assume any power or function except those conferred on them in terms of the Constitution.
◆ IThe bill raises several key constitutional questions related to the distribution of powers between national and provincial governments. If the province aims to take over areas traditionally managed by the national government without constitutional amendments or national legislation permitting them to do so, such actions could be deemed unconstitutional.
* Phindile George is an ANC activist from Khayelitsha.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.