Note to editors: Please note that this is an amended version of the statement that was released earlier
The Democratic Alliance (DA) can today reveal that, despite now playing cheap and opportunistic politics on this issue, ActionSA voted in favour of the 0% wage increase contained in the budget adopted earlier this year by the City of Tshwane’s Council. In a statement released on 1 January 2023, following the adoption of Tshwane’s 2023-2024 budget, ActionSA proudly proclaimed that “The passing of the City of Tshwane’s budget is a step in the right direction to restore financial sustainability and good governance to the city’s finances.” This clearly demonstrates that ActionSA knowingly and publicly supported the wage freeze to “restore financial sustainability.”
The DA in Gauteng finds it unacceptable that ActionSA is attacking the bedrock of the Tshwane Coalition Government, by attempting to distance themselves from decisions they played a crucial role in making.
In a bizarre turn of events, ActionSA is now publicly attacking the very decision that it voted for earlier this year.
ActionSA’s unilateral introduction of a motion to distance themselves from the budget they voted for just a few short months ago, and from the coalition they are part of, is not only profoundly dishonest. It also betrays the residents of Tshwane, who cannot afford a R600 million rates increase to fund further wage increases. No matter what ActionSA says or does, there simply is no money to pay this increase. No amount of political stunts will change that fact.
The Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Cilliers Brink, and his mayoral committee that includes councillors from various political parties, have stood firm against the illegal actions by individuals and organisations that resulted in unprecedented violence and destruction. The very equipment and infrastructure needed to deliver services to the people is being destroyed by this illegal strike.
The DA is not interested in the cheap political games that ActionSA seems intent on playing. The DA is focused on bringing illegal action and its consequences to an end, so that the residents of the Metro are no longer held hostage by the very people who are meant to ensure delivery.
It is also very disingenuous for ActionSA to imply that the Executive Mayor negotiates and signs the wage agreement. This is blatantly false; the agreement is negotiated nationally and gets imposed across all municipalities. Knowing that Tshwane could not afford the R600 million increase, the Council followed legal processes by seeking an exemption.
While others may be willing to sacrifice the rule of law, the DA will continue to stand firm. We will not allow intimidation and violence to determine our position on critical issues. We will not take decisions based on having a gun held to our heads.
Governing within a constrained financial environment requires a strong stomach by those in power. We need to ensure that our actions are designed to rescue Tshwane and Gauteng. Flinching at the slightest sign of adversity is not what residents of Tshwane and Gauteng expect from their government. The DA will hold the line. We are determined to restore financial sustainability and the rule of law where we govern. This is the only way to rescue Tshwane and Gauteng.