Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by DA Tshwane Mayoral Candidate, Randall Williams, at a press conference at the DA Regional Offices in Pretoria today.
Ladies and gentlemen and members of the media.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) wishes to make it clear that the DA-led City of Tshwane has not been placed under administration as announced by Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) MEC, Lebogang Maile yesterday.
Unless and until the appropriate processes have been complied with for that to happen, normal Council functions are in the hands of those who were democratically elected.
DA Councillors specifically, are still in office and are serving residents.
We will do everything we can to avoid the dissolution of this Council, which would set an extremely bad precedent for all minority Councils after 2021.
The official letters to COGTA Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, for consideration, have not yet been served on the DA nor the municipality and to this date and time, the only real correlation to this, is the media statement issued by Maile on Thursday.
Maile’s intention to meet with staff on Saturday and appointing an administrator is therefore wholly immature, in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution.
Maile and and Gauteng Premier David Makhura are riding roughshot over our Constitution and democracy.
This again confirms our contention that their actions are illegal based on preliminary legal advice which confirmed this.
The battle for the City of Tshwane goes much deeper than a dispute about service delivery and its ability to hold council meetings.
The real fight is a principled one making the Constitution and its democracy the actual battle field.
There are municipalities in Gauteng that are on the brink of real collapse with very poor financial and sevice delivery records.
These are the municipalities that should concern Maile and offer a strong case for being placed under administration.
His refusal to do so can only be explained that these are ANC governed municipalities.
It further proves that his motives are clearly political.
The strategy of the opposition to collapse council meetings since November 2019 was a coordinated and orchestrated effort executed in conjunction with Maile to create the perception that the City of Tshwane is in crisis.
It was their intention from the start to place the City under administration in order for the opposition to get its hands on the resources of the municipality through the backdoor.
It is in light of these facts that the DA has taken a principled decision to stand up and fight for democracy.
We have obtained legal advice and will in all probability interdict the dissolution of the municipality.
The process followed by Maile is fatally flawed and they have not followed due process.
A clear example of this is a 200 page response that was prepared by the City to Maile’s concerns raised in December last year.
He has clearly ignored the content of this report as he has not responded to it nor acknowledged receipt to date.
This once again proves that he was adamant to place the municipality under administration despite having no solid evidence to do so.
This is a very important battle as we expect more coallition government elections after 2021 all over South Africa.
If we allow the opposition to subvert democratic porcesses to get their hands on municipal resources without having to govern and being accountable it will undermine our country’s Constitution and democracy.
We call on our residents as well as the citizens of Gauteng to stand with the DA in this principled battle.
The only way we can bring back good governance, fight corruption and grow the economy in our cities is through building strong democratic goverments.
The DA has a track record of delivering quality services to the residents where it governs.
Futhermore, the DA has a very strong and legitimate plan to take the city of Tshwane forward over the next 15 months.
This plan is centred around improving service delivery, communication and generally addressing the concerns of our residents.
It is visibly clear that the opposition wants to undermine anyone leading up to the 2021 elections.
Currently the service delivery is proceeding as per business as usual with delegated powers.
Electricity is still restored, revenue is still collected, a traffic control circle was built around the corner from this very office last night, and in general the attitude from both the city officials and our councillors is that it will remain business as usual.
However, if an administrator is placed in control of the city, he is not accountable to the representatives democratically elected by the residents.
Any mismanagement or corruption that is happening under his watch is likely to be swept under the carpet as he will only be accountable to Maile whom we do not trust.
This is a further subversion of democracy.
Our councillors remain committed to service delivery, regardless of what processes unfolds and will continue to assist residents in Tshwane to ensure that service delivery does not come to a halt.
The residents of Tshwane remain our main priority regardless of any political games by the opposition.
We have confirmed that the delegated powers to the different departmental heads remain in tact as per council resolution and this will assist with the implementation of service delivery programmes.
The DA caucus and all its councillors stand united to fight this disolution of council.
We will continue to fight for services and will not stop to serve our communities in Tshwane in this trying time.
The DA calls for all residents to remain calm and join us in this principled fight to protect our democracy.
Continue to contact your councillor and continue to report any service delivery issues as we will continue to serve.