ANC rejects ‘unconstitutional’ Western Cape Powers Bill; accuses DA of undermining Constitution

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri. Picture: Itumeleng English Independent Newspapers

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri. Picture: Itumeleng English Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 17, 2024


The ANC has slammed the Western Cape Powers Bill, describing it as a backward step for a democratic South Africa which has been in existence for 30 years this year.

This comes as calls for an independent Western Cape continue to grow, with the DA-led province welcoming the bill with open arms in spite of calls by opposition political parties calling for it to be halted.

Last year, the DA tabled the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill at the provincial legislature, with the party citing lack of provision of basic services including energy, policing and rail at national level as the reasons for this bill.

“The bill creates a framework for the province to fully assert its existing constitutional and legislative powers and to get more powers delegated from national government. It not only enables but instructs the provincial government to step in as far as constitutionally possible where national government is failing to perform a function,” the DA said when it tabled this bill.

On Wednesday, the ANC in a statement by its national spokesperson, Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, called for South Africans to reject the bill.

The party has described this as unconstitutional and being led by ideologies of the right-wing factions who are positioning themselves as supporters of the apartheid system.

“The ANC urges all South Africans to call out the unconstitutional actions of the Western Cape government. It is alarming to see that the Western Cape has embraced the ideologies of right-wing factions and has positioned itself as a supporter of the old apartheid regime, which never advocated for a unified state or a constitutional state as outlined in the Freedom Charter,” Bhengu-Motsiri said.

The ANC said this bill is in violation of the country’s Constitution and is aimed at returning the country to its shameful past of Bantustans.

“The Western Cape Powers Bill is nothing but a ploy to revive and reintroduce the discriminatory policies of apartheid, which segregated South Africa along racial and tribal lines by creating Bantustans. Legal experts have unequivocally stated that the bill proposed by the Western Cape government goes against the Constitution,” the ANC said.

The party added that legal opinion has also indicated that the bill does not have any legal basis to justify its legislative authority, which renders it invalid and unconstitutional.

“The bill is in violation of the constitution as the Western Cape provincial legislature lacks the legislative authority or constitutional mandate to develop, propose, and enact such a bill.

“Based on these two points, it is evident that the conduct of the Western Cape government, and by extension the DA, not only contradicts the constitution, but also undermines its principles,” Bhengu-Motsiri added.

The DA said: “The constitution allocates certain powers to each sphere of government – national, provincial and local – with overlap in some areas. The first purpose of the bill is to make sure that wherever there is overlap, the province uses any potential powers it has, to the fullest extent possible.”

Speaking to The Star, the leader of the Referendum Party (RP), Phil Craig, said the party supports the independence of the Western Cape province.

“Broadly speaking, the Referendum Party supports the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill as a step in the right direction as the Cape independence is premised upon a desire for the Western Cape people, the majority of whom have never once voted ANC, to take control of their own destiny. Calls for South Africa to be intentionally restructured to prevent the Western Cape people from deciding for themselves on independence only serve to illustrate how essential independence is,” Craig said.

The Star

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