In January, Mathebe called for communities to nominate their preferred ward committee candidates to stand for the elections. The process was concluded in February, but Mathebe recently announced the decision to put the elections on hold.
Clive Napier, the chairperson of the Section 79 committee overseeing the existence of ward committees, said the elections had been postponed due to a technical problem with the by-law.
“The problem revolves around the qualification of candidates, or around who may stand for election in a particular ward. There was an omission in the by-law that made it unclear as to whether people from outside the ward could stand for elections,” he said.
However, the ANC's leader in council, Mapiti Matsena, said the postponement was a DA strategy to bring its members from Cape Town to infiltrate the 68 wards won by his party during the 2016 municipal polls.
“Speaker Councillor Mathebe has not provided reasons for the postponement. It comes after the City has thus far spent more than R4million (R8m when adding indirect costs) throughout the process of the ward committee elections,” he said.
Matsena said the ANC viewed the postponement as a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“We must now restart the process, which is a problem because the City has to spend more money, which is going to be more wasteful expenditure. The DA is not committed to ensuring that the residents of the city play an oversight role on its administration,” he said.
He said the by-law referred to was approved by council last year in June.
“The ANC supported the by-law because we believe in the involvement of communities in the affairs of the City,” he said.
But Napier said the oversight committee had taken a decision to subject the by-law to legal review to make sure it was “fully complaint with the constitution of the country and all relevant legislation”.
The decision for the review process would be submitted to council during its sitting on Thursday.