The DA in Western Cape has urged all law enforcement agencies to be present at the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill hearings, accusing opposition political parties of intimidation and violent behaviour.
According to the DA, the ANC allegedly persisted with tactics of disruptions into the second day of the hearings.
The Western Cape Legislature’s hearings on the bill started in Worcester on Monday and followed the next day in Moorreesburg.
The bill seeks to expand federal autonomy for capable provincial and local governments and to empower them to manage devolved functions such as policing, public transport, energy, and harbours from the national government.
The hearings are expected to conclude on Friday.
“Despite the fact that public participation is a vital part of our democracy, the ANC has consistently threatened measures up to and including legal action to muzzle the public, and stop these hearings.
“Now, it seems that they have mobilised their supporters to intimidate and harass those with whom they disagree.
“Several ANC public representatives encouraged and stoked this behaviour during the meeting,” said Ad-Hoc Provincial Powers Bill Chairperson Isaac Sileku.
Sileku alleged ANC disruptions meant the hearing in Worcester had to be adjourned some minutes ahead of schedule.
DA MPL Christopher Fry also alleged that on Tuesday, ANC activists arrived at the Moorreesburg hearing to find themselves outnumbered by supporters of the bill and in response, prevented the hearing from taking place.
He said the meeting was suspended and people were requested to make written submissions on the bill.
However, ANC MPL Pat Marran alleged when they arrived at the hall there was already a commotion with police and law enforcement on the scene.
He said on further investigation they found out the DA had allegedly lied about the time the hearing would start.
“When they came back half an hour later the hall was full of DA supporters and were told to go and sit in the gallery which they refused.
They were willing to sit on the floor as long as they didn't have to sit outside in the gallery.
“However, a DA alternate member to the committee refused and argued that ANC and EFF supporters must be evicted.
“The end goal should have never been to evict people, but to find solutions and to address their concerns.
ANC and EFF supporters are of the view that they've been deliberately asked to leave the hall,” said Marran.
He said the party only mobilised its members to oppose the bill and not for disruptions.
EFF chairperson Unathi Ntame said: “On both occasions where the hearing took place residents of the Western Cape have unanimously said no to the Bill.
“When the DA public representatives who serve on the ad-hoc committee could see the resolve and unity of the residents, they voluntarily suspended the hearings but continue to accrue benefits afforded to public representatives.”
DA provincial leader Tertius Simmers urged residents not to be discouraged but attend the remaining public hearing sessions.
“We further call on SAPS and all relevant municipal law enforcement agencies to hold the ANC members to account and remove them from all venues for the remaining public hearings, should they not seek to participate in these hearings in a respectful and democratic manner,” he said.