Move to disband Tshwane council backed
The move has effectively displaced the DA coalition government which had been in power since the 2016 elections, with fresh elections set to take place in June.
On Thursday, the National Council of Provinces (NCoP) approved the decision by the Gauteng provincial government to dissolve the city’s council due to protracted dysfunctionality which had crippled its capacity to render services to residents.
The NCoP met at the provincial legislature in Johannesburg, where it received a report from the select committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta).
Committee chairperson Thamsanqa Dodovu said the provincial government was justified in dissolving the municipality, a move which the DA is now challenging in court.
“We did everything possible to engage the stakeholders and communities to ask them a principal question about the state of the municipality, and overwhelmingly they have said the municipality must be dissolved because this municipality is not democratic, not accountable to them and because the systems and structures have collapsed and it doesn’t provide the necessary services to the people,” he said.
The municipality currently has no executive mayor, mayoral committee or municipal manager.
Dodovu said the representations by six of the seven political parties represented in the council, who all backed the dissolution, included submissions from the South African Municipal Workers’ Union and the South African Local Government Association.
Since November last year, the council’s meetings have repeatedly collapsed due to disruptions and walkouts.
Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile said his department had already started preparing for the administrator to take over, and had had meetings with senior managers in Tshwane on the implications of the dissolution.
“We will be releasing a detailed plan for 90 days in terms of dealing with issues of service delivery, because that is what the people want to hear. We are very happy,” he said.
The DA has accused the provincial government of abusing the legislation to wrestle back power and reclaim the city on behalf of the ANC through the back door, a charge which Maile rejected.
“It is not true, because we have consistently said we are not disbanding the DA, but we are dissolving the municipal council. The ANC and other parties are also affected,” Maile said.
Maile said the Electoral Commission of South Africa had also given him a detailed brief on its preparations for the by-elections in the metro, which are set to take place in June.
DA MPL Crezane Bosch said the party was disappointed with the decision by the NCoP to approve the dissolution of Tshwane, and added that it was forging ahead with a court challenge. The DA’s court bid will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday.