SA Political Diary – Thursday 14 July 2011

By Simon Williamson 14 July 2011

The Cape Town city council faces accusations it hasn't spent all its money - R3 billion, if Cosatu is to be believed. President Jacob Zuma, of "Bring me my Machine Gun" fame, has deplored the use of violence in strikes as burning down homes becomes popular. The ANC in Western Cape isn't keen on handing over documents relating to the Rasool-Cape Times debacle and Nelson Mandela Bay's idea for a deputy city manager is shot down. By SIMON WILLIAMSON.

The DA-led council running the City of Cape Town municipality has been accused of under-spending its capital expenditure budget allocation of R4 billion by 35%. In an open letter to mayor Patricia de Lille yesterday, ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe claimed De Lille had lost her principles and values a decade ago and said she believed she knew everything about local government. De Lille replied that the ANC had little knowledge of council processes, and that payments were still being made from the leftover funds which rendered the accusations premature. A spokesman for De Lille said, although the city would not spend 97% of its budget as it did in the previous year, “prevailing economic conditions and the delay in material and plant delivery from external sources, notably a delay in capital transfers from Japan due to the natural disasters in that country” were the reasons. Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich, the ANC’s leader on the council, claimed the DA did not raise a planned R7 billion from bond markets and accessed only R4 billion as the council was cash flush – money, Ehrenreich claims, which could have contributed greatly to infrastructure and 100,000 jobs in the environmental economy. He also blamed the DA of pulling a blanket over the release of public budget information to the ANC which “goes against the principle of transparency that should exist in a public institution”. He claimed the DA was hanging on to funds to (a) receive a favourable credit rating, (b) incompetence at spending and (c) roll out bicycle lanes which could not be done before the local government elections. Deputy mayor Ian Neilson branded the accusations “financially illiterate”.

Read more: Politicsweb, Fin24, Business Day

President Jacob Zuma, in being awarded the Freedom of Makana Municpality (we wrote about it yesterday) deplored the use of violence – the most recent cases, burning down councillors’ homes – as a means of protest. He said, “The recent attacks on councillors and their homes in some parts of the country are shocking and are not what should be seen in a democratic society where people have so many avenues of voicing their grievances or suggestions.” Zuma also said central government’s local government turnaround strategy was beginning to work, as the increase in clean audits showed. Grahamstown’s Unemployed People’s Movement was having none of it, though. In an open letter to the president the group said Zuma’s award was an insult, “You will be given the key to Grahamstown while many of us do not even have a key to a falling-down, leaking and tiny RDP house.” Zumaxolo Peter, the Makana mayor said Zuma deserved the award for his contribution to the fight against apartheid, hosting a successful Fifa World Cup and his contribution to the “improvement of the quality of the life of other people”.

Photo: TimesLIVE
The ANC in Western Cape is opposing a court application to hand over documents, including the ANC’s internal enquiry into the matter, relating to the Cape Argus scandal under former premier, Ebrahim Rasool. Rasool, or people acting for him, paid journalists at the Cape Argus (of Independent Newspapers) for favourable press. Independent Newspapers says it is vital to acquire these documents to carry out its internal processes as the company may need to enforce action to maintain its reputation.

Read more: IOL


The ANC branch secretaries from around the Msundusi municipality have endorsed the leadership of the Moses Mabhida region. This comes after a group staged a sit-in at the council offices for six weeks, which ended yesterday when they were arrested and removed by police.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s idea for a deputy city manager position has been shot down by the South African Municipal Workers Union. The municipality would be the first to have such a slot. The union, backed by Cosatu, accused the provincial government of being run by the regional ANC which is interfering in council appointments. The ANC has, in the past, said councillors are its deployees, and an interest in their performance is a party right.

Read more: The New Age

Also in Nelson Mandela Bay: The municipality is making an application for R1.3 billion to take care of an infrastructure backlog, most notably, roads.

The City of Tshwane has promised to fix potholes – a chronic problem in the area – within  24 hours of them being reported, and the city would use this philosophy to create jobs.

Never-ending IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has taken on the government regarding its attitude to foreigners to South Africa, saying it confuses asylum-seekers with undocumented immigrants.  “Clandestine migration certainly causes all sorts of problems for SA, from town planning to an overburdened social service infrastructure. But to lay all these problems at the door of refugees [as an ANC member in the home affairs portfolio recently did] is a reprehensible error.” Buthelezi, a previous home affairs minister, said during his time he tried to pass legislation which would increase tourism and investment, but strengthen South Africa’s borders. He believes this could still be done if refugee centres were moved closer to the borders.

Read more: Business Day

Cosatu has waded into the newest Free State toilet saga with a firm message that RDP housing, with toilets or without, cannot be paid for by those who are supposed to be given them for free. The Maluti-a-Phofung municipality (where one finds Harrismith) was trying to sell plots of land with toilets on them for R12,000 each. Minister of human settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, described the situation as “the ugly face of the kind of corruption we have been calling people to gather against”. He also put it down to the municipality not communicating effectively. As far as we see it though, it is Free State 2, Western Cape 1.

Gauteng is to suspend the issuing of liquor licences for six months, said MEC for economic development Qedani Mahlangu yesterday. This would be to ensure that only “fit and proper people” are permitted to serve alcohol, and this would not affect those who already have liquor licences, nor those who are renewing. The DA in the province said this could stagnate the restaurant and tourism industries.

Read more: EWN, Daily Maverick

Solidarity has rejected the fuel industry’s  latest wage offer and will join the countrywide fuel workers’ strike today. The union’s reason was the 81% increase in the pay of directors at Sasol in the last year.

At 10am Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane will address the provincial legislature about the province’s budget for the year. It should be a feisty discussion as the DA said yesterday the province’s municipal debt had grown by R1.6 billion in the first three months of 2011 pushing  the total owed to the province to more than R22 billion. The City of Joburg municipality has more than R8 billion outstanding.

Parliamentarians could soon face fines of up to R500 a day for absenteeism. Currently, MPs need permission to be absent for more than 15 consecutive days while the national assembly is sitting. However, Parliament will have to vote on this … let’s hope there’s at least a quorum. DM

Photo: Daily Maverick



Lord Hain requests formal investigation of Leave.EU Brexit campaign’s South African links

By Marianne Thamm

Bladerunner (1980s version) is a visual feast due in large part to the Hollywood Actors Strike. This allowed the designers an extra three months to refine the sets and props.