Pretoria - A war of words has ensued between the DA and ActionSA, members of the coalition government in the City of Tshwane.
ActionSA fired the first salvo on Thursday, threatening to report mayor Cilliers Brink, who is deployed by the DA to the coalition management committee, to force him to negotiate with striking workers.
The party also accused Brink of going back on the 2003 agreement between the city and the employees that pay increases would be paid.
ActionSA, led by its national chairperson Michael Beaumont and Gauteng chairperson Funzi Ngobeni, made the accusations after communities affected by service delivery across the municipality.
The workers have been on strike for almost three months, demanding their increase, and adding R600 million to the wage bill and to reinstate workers who had been fired by the municipality for taking part in the unprotected strike.
However, on Thursday, The DA’s Tshwane caucus spokesperson, Kwena Moloto, hit back at their coalition partner, saying that the party had “stabbed Brink in the back” while “pulling the rug from under the coalition’s feet.”
He said Herman Mashaba’s party submitted an urgent motion to the speaker of council, seeking to compel Brink to negotiate with striking workers as well consider “the legitimate demands” put forward by labour unions.
He added that they had done this without consulting the multi-part coalition, which also included the Freedom Front plus (FF).
“The foundation of ActionSA's motion lacks substance. The City of Tshwane has made numerous efforts to engage with the unions involved in the ongoing strikes, and ActionSA, having two MMC positions, are aware of these engagements.
“ActionSA seems to be playing opposition politics while in government, clearly attempting to score political points,” Moloto said.
He said they were calling for Brink to engage with the “criminal elements who have held this city hostage through violence and destruction.”
Over the months since the strike action began in the capital city, service delivery has halted, municipal infrastructure has been destroyed, and assaults and shootings on municipal employees have taken place.
Moloto said supporting this motion would condone violence, destruction, and intimidation.
“ActionSA's motion displays a lack of foresight. Granting wage increases in Tshwane would inevitably come at the expense of resources designated for essential services to residents.
“If this motion were to be accepted, creating the illusion of ending the strike in the name of resuming service delivery in Tshwane, it will lead to a long-term decline in the quality of services provided to Tshwane residents,” he said.
The DA and the FF+ have since initiated a dispute against ActionSA within the coalition management committee and threaten to escalate the dispute amongst Party National Leaders.
“Under no circumstances will the DA endorse a motion that could result in the financial ruin of the City of Tshwane. Nor will the DA support a motion that harms the residents of Tshwane to appease those responsible for the destruction of municipal infrastructure, assaults on, and shootings of municipal employees.
“The DA is a party guided by principles. If ActionSA chooses to engage in politics that undermine the coalition and potentially return the city to the ANC, the DA Caucus will persist in fighting for residents from the opposition benches,” Moloto said.