Pretoria - The DA in Tshwane have vowed to take on the ANC over threats to haul the capital city under administration over a series of service delivery disruptions and council’s failure to meet.
According to the DA, whistle-blowers brought it to the attention of the media that senior government officials have been meeting with Premier Panyaza Lesufi to discuss plans to put the city under administration.
The city has been thrown into disarray in recent weeks due to strike action by municipal workers, who have been demanding a pay increase, resulting in about 122 employees being issued with dismissal letters.
Despite the city changing mayors in abundance in recent months, Tshwane council has also been failing to sit to discuss pertinent issues, including the strike, service delivery and its finances.
On Thursday last week, council, once again, failed to conclude its business of the day as chaos broke out at the sitting when EFF councillors led a protest against mayor Cilliers Brink, demanding the reinstatement of the dismissed workers.
Late last month, the multi-party coalition consisting of the DA and Action SA ditched a special council meeting called to debate the recent strike action led by the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).
Recently, the metro missed the August 31 deadline to submit its annual financial statements to the Auditor-General (AG) in order to finalise all outstanding issues.
The AG had found billions of rands and assets were unaccounted for by the municipality, which resulted in an adverse audit finding for the past financial year.
The ANC provincial government has recently threatened to place the capital city under administration as a result.
However, the DA has vowed to challenge any attempts by the provincial government to do so.
In a statement, the party’s Tshwane caucus spokesperson Kwena Moloto is accusing the ANC and the EFF, together with Samwu, of deliberately sabotaging council to pave the way for the metro to be placed under administration.
Moloto said: “It is becoming very clear that the ANC and EFF coalition, in conjunction with aligned labour unions in the capital, are once again deliberately trying to create conditions for the municipality to be placed under administration, jeopardising service delivery and disrupting the lives of residents.”
While Moloto conceded in the statement that the city and its mayor, Brink, faced challenges, he, however, said the current government was capable of overcoming the obstacles.
“In contrast to the previous lawlessness and irregularities in the capital, we now witness a desperate provincial leadership attempting to undermine effective governance,” he said.
He called out the ANC, saying the party had shown that they were not fit to govern.
“An efficient government, especially in the capital of South Africa, underscores what many have known for some time — the ANC is not fit to govern,” he said.
He further called on the government to be part of the solution by fulfilling its constitutional duty that requires it to support the municipality and invited the provincial government to its council meetings.
“They will find, as we have, an incompetent speaker who continuously puts his own political interests above his constitutional duty,” he said.
ANC Regional chairperson Bonzo Modise dismissed the DA’s assertions as lies and that the party was intending to place them under administration.
Responding to Pretoria News questions yesterday, Modise said: “The DA has failed and are making up all sorts of things because they have failed to lead the city. They have even asked for an extension to explain their finances to the AG. Last week, we called for a special council meeting, and they did not come.
“Council has to sit, and the DA must explain how they are going to raise money to pay employees instead of issuing dismissal letters,” Modise said.
ANC provincial spokesperson Lesego Makhubela’s phone rang unanswered.
It would not be the first time the government attempts to put the capital under administration.
In 2020, the city was placed under administration, but the move was later overturned and declared unlawful by the Constitutional Court in 2021.