Council meeting derailed as ANC, EFF walk out due to water shortage at Tshwane House

South Africa - Pretoria - 4 June 2024 - Finance MMC Jacqui Uys delivers the 2024/2025 Budget speech at Tshwane House. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

South Africa - Pretoria - 4 June 2024 - Finance MMC Jacqui Uys delivers the 2024/2025 Budget speech at Tshwane House. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 7, 2024


The ANC and EFF councillors on Thursday staged a walkout during a council meeting to debate the budget for 2024/25 financial year at Tshwane House council chamber owing to lack of running water at the facility.

The EFF councillors also protested against the unavailability of insourcing of workers’ feasibility study report, which was promised to be presented in council before the passing of the budget.

The R50,6 billion budget was presented on Tuesday by Finance MMC Jacqui Uys, making a commitment to install new street lights as part of Tshwane public lighting programme and upgrading substations, among other projects.

The sitting got under way in the morning after council Speaker Mncedi Ndzwanana informed the house about water shortage in the building, adding he was told the problem would have been sorted out by noon.

However, as the day progressed it appeared that there was no water at the ablution facilities, causing some councillors to threaten boycotting the meeting.

ANC chief whip Aaron Maluleka said: “The occupational health safety (OHS) dictates that there is potable and running water in a building at all times. So, you must make a decision now. We can’t proceed any further if there is no potable and running water at all times as required in law. This is not me; it is OHS and don’t (speaker) choose whether it is drinkable or for flushing.”

The other fly in the ointment was the unavailability of a feasibility study report into insourcing of workers.

In April, ActionSA brought to council a motion seeking to insource security guards and was passed with an undertaking that “a feasibility study and business case focusing on promoting insourcing will be presented to the council for consideration no later than before June 1, 2024 to allow for budget consideration”.

On Thursday, ActionSA came under fire from the EFF councillors who accused the party of failing to keep its promise of having a feasibility study report into insourcing of workers ready before the passing of the budget.

EFF chief whip Godwin Ratikwane said: “There is an approved motion from ActionSA that we are going to insource workers. There was a commitment on the report that that report will inform the budget. We want a caucus break for 30 minutes so that the feasibility study in terms of insourcing can come here so that we can deal with it before we approve a budget. You can not approve this budget if workers are not insourced. If we don’t have that report we can’t continue and pass the budget.”

The meeting was delayed for more than an hour to allow Ndzwanana to receive an update about plans to restore water.

When the meeting was subsequently convened both the EFF and ANC councillors staged a walkout in a protest over the lack of water.

At the time of going for publication the DA had called for an hour caucus break with the hope water would be restored soon for council to pass the budget.

Earlier on during the debate an ANC councillor Floyd Thema said his party was not in support of the budget because it was not funded.

He said:“In the City there is no liquid cash and we must agree as council that there is no money in the city.”

He criticised the City for failing to pay on time its creditors such as Eskom and Rand Water.

According to him, the City didn’t have the capacity to collect revenues and targeted black people who were often billed incorrectly.

“We have seen that there is an electricity reticulation and in terms of the power stations that is budgeted for R56 million we know that is not enough and some of this money will be replete in around three months or so,”he said.

He said a budget of R3m for equipment at Tshwane Metro Police Department didn’t inspire confidence among the people that the City was serious about their safety.

EFF councillor Tshegofatso Mashabela said her party also rejected the budget, saying the allocation of R84.5m for consulting services and R270m for water tankers would manifest rampant corruption and mismanagement within the municipality.

She slammed ActionSA and the DA, saying their promises to insource workers were “empty lies and political manipulation”.

In response ActionSA caucus leader Jackie Mathabathe labelled the EFF “political opportunists who understand very little about progress and development within the City”.

“These are the people that we are going to show them how it is to govern the City and govern it effectively whilst we are focusing on residents and not themselves,” he said.

Pretoria News

[email protected]