Johannesburg - The recent letter of demand by Gauteng to the City of Joburg, to provide answers regarding its failure in passing the 2020/21 budget and concerns over personal protective equipment (PPE) tender allegations, has been described by the city as an attempt by the DA “to subvert the democratic and legislated processes of the city”.
Lebogang Maile, MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, wrote to mayor Geoff Makhubo on Monday regarding allegations of legislative and governance failures, demanding a response.
The Gauteng legislature alleged that the city:
Failed to pass a budget.
Failed to compile a budget that makes provision for Covid-19 related deviations.
Appointed senior managers irregularly.
Intentionally withheld information on Covid-related expenditure.
Was involved in covid-related procurement corruption.
Failed to convene council meetings.
In addition, the council Speaker was accused of denying councillors freedom of speech in meetings and allowed votes in council meetings that were not quorate.
Maile said: “The allegations are deemed very serious with far-reaching ramifications on the integrity and governance of the municipality.
“The Local Government Municipal Systems Act, as amended, empowers the MEC responsible for local government in a province to designate a person or persons to conduct an investigation if the MEC has reason to believe that a municipality cannot or does not fulfil a statutory obligation binding on that municipality or that maladministration, fraud, corruption or any other serious malpractice has occurred or is occurring in a municipality.”
The city was given seven days to respond and provide reasons the MEC should not discharge his statutory powers under the act.
The city said the allegations were another attempt by the DA to subvert the democratic and legislated processes of the city and to undermine standing rules of council as a means to gain political attention and mileage.
Makhubo said: “We acknowledge the MEC’s enquiry on the allegations made by the leader of the DA in council, Leah Knott, and we will, within the time frames stipulated, provide the MEC with a detailed response.”
He said the DA and its allies had deliberately sabotaged council meetings and resisted complying with the rules and procedures of council.
“The DA has vacillated on every critical decision in council to manage its deeply-fractured caucus which is laden with mistrust and insecurities based on ongoing defections by its councillors from the party.
“As the government of local unity, we have displayed transparency in the management of the affairs of the city and will continue to do so
“We will clear the smokescreens and expose the true and real threats to progress within the city as represented by the DA,” said the mayor.
DA Joburg caucus leader, Leah Knott, said she was surprised and satisfied that the province took her letter of complaint seriously.
“We have sent numerous complaints in recent months and province never responded. We finally combined all the complaints under one letter and we are very pleased that MEC Maile is now taking it seriously,” she said.