The Cape Town city council was due to debate an ANC-sponsored motion of no confidence in Mayor Patricia De Lille on Wednesday, following various allegations of corruption against her.
The problems have been exacerbated by the City and the province’s handling of Cape Town’s severe drought crisis.
The ANC caucus on Wednesday said, however, that it would be withdrawing its motion of no confidence, amid a Democratic Alliance directive for its caucus to table its own motion.
The ANC said it would rather write to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Des van Rooyen to intervene in the province and metro.
“The DA has prioritised factionalism over the needs of the people of the Western Cape. They are collectively responsible for this water crisis,” it said in a statement.
“It is for this reason that the ANC will have to withdraw its motion of no confidence in today’s council meeting and instead call for the national government through minister of Cogta to [invoke] section 100 of the Constitution and put both the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape provincial administration… under administration by national government.”
Section 100 of the Constitution allows for national government to “intervene” in the running of a province for 180 days if it cannot fulfil its Constitutional obligations.
It does not use the term administration, which would involve the dissolving of the provincial legislature.
A province though is allowed to place a city council under administration by Section 139 of the Constitution, if it cannot execute its Constitutional mandate.
‘Failed to take responsibility’
ANC Cape Town caucus leader Xolani Sotashe told News24 that their request would be based on the numerous reports of alleged corruption in the city, as well as the Auditor-General’s recent unqualified audit with findings.
“These people have squandered millions that should have been going to certain projects. They have chowed the money and things can’t be normal after that.”
The issue was not one of insolvency, but of corruption and an inability to manage the city’s issues, which “the provincial government has failed to address”.
“If the other spheres of government does (sic) not intervene in terms of helping the city, we will be [on the way] to bankruptcy and the city will collapse.”
The ANC, at national level, has supported the caucus’ proposed move.
“We are of the view that the sooner national government intervenes, the quicker it will be able to avert the crisis in Cape Town,” ANC national spokesperson Khusela Diko told News24.
“The DA has always used Cape Town as a model city of proper governance, but the Auditor-General’s report is very clear that there are very serious lapses in financial controls there.”
The City had refused to take responsibility for the water crisis, and had placed the blame on one individual, Diko said.
‘It should be the other way around’
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille dismissed the ANC’s plans on Wednesday.
“This is no time to play Constitutional games,” Zille told News24.
“There is not a single issue in which we have failed in our Constitutional mandate, which is oversight, and managing the emergency.
“The sphere of government that has not fulfilled its mandate, is national government for failing to supply adequate bulk water to the City of Cape Town.”
The ANC would have to show evidence of a failure on the part of the province if they wanted national government to intervene, she said.
“The one who has failed is national government. It should be the other way around, we should put them under administration.
“I wish I could place them under administration.”
The Cape Town city council was still due to debate the ANC’s motion of no confidence in De Lille at the time of publication. DM
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