South Africa

10 QUESTIONS

Tshwane Metro: From coalition negotiations to utility bills totalling over R1-billion — council has its work cut out

Tshwane mayor Randall Williams. Photo:Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

Voting could have gone either way in the City of Tshwane this week, with no outright winner after the 2021 local elections, but in the end, the DA’s Randall Williams retained his position as mayor in a hung council with no formal coalition. Daily Maverick fired 10 quick questions to the City’s mayoral chief of staff Jordan Griffiths.

Tshwane has had turbulent governance since the 2016 local elections, with no outright majority. This pattern continued in the  2021 elections, with the DA winning 32.03% of the vote, which gives it 69 seats. The ANC won 34.63% of the vote, which gives it 75 seats. ActionSA won 8.64% for 19 seats and the EFF won 10.69%, winning 23 seats.  

There was no formal coalition agreement before the first crunch sitting of council on Tuesday this week. 

In the end, the status quo was retained — the DA’s Randall Williams was re-elected mayor and Rachel Katlego Mathebe remained Speaker of the council, with no contestation from the ANC which declined to nominate candidates.

The DA mayoral victory was thanks to voter support from ActionSA and the EFF, as was the case in the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metros.

As there is no formal coalition, the City of Tshwane will still depend on fragile voting arrangements to implement major decisions, or risk collapse. Service delivery issues are still looming and non-compliance by government departments to pay for services are among a myriad challenges facing the City of Tshwane.

 

Councillors are sworn in at the city of Tshwane’s first inaugural meeting to elect a new mayor, speaker of the council and chief whip in the capital’s council chamber on 23 November 2021. Photo by Alet Pretorius
The City of Tshwane’s first inaugural meeting on 23 November2021. Photo by Alet Pretorius

10 Questions to Tshwane’s mayoral chief of staff, Jordan Griffiths:

  1. Q: How is the DA-led administration in Tshwane going to work with parties like ActionSA and the EFF?

A: No finalisation has been made in this regard. But talks are underway to establish a working relationship with the two parties.    

  1. Q: Don’t you think the municipality would be collapsed again as happened in the past when one or more parties refused to vote with the DA on important issues going forward?

A: There is always a possibility of such a thing happening but I think a dispute resolution mechanism would be put in place to resolve matters amicably rather than collapse the City.

  1. Q: Don’t you think an election runoff or rerun would have been a better solution to resolve the issue of hung councils?

 A: No. A re-election does not guarantee that any party would emerge with an outright majority. We might still find ourselves with a hung council after a rerun.  

  1. Q: What is your response to criticism by some opinion-makers that the DA is a racist party?  

A: That can’t be true. We have a diverse group of leaders across all racial divides.       

  1. Q: How much is the salary bill of all councillors per year in the City of Tshwane?

A: R120-million.   

  1. Q: Were City of Tshwane councillors paid during the time the City was under administration by the Gauteng provincial government?

 A: No. No councillors were paid during that time but their salaries were backdated as soon as they returned to work. This as the administration imposed by the Gauteng provincial government was found to be illegal by the Constitutional Court.

  1. Q: How much does an ordinary Councillor earn per month?  

    A: Between R35,000 and R40,000.
  2. Q: How much do government departments owe the City of Tshwane for water and electricity services?

A: Over R1-billion. Various embassies also owe the municipality some money for water and electricity services. The city has already started cutting off water and electricity services to the defaulting departments.  

  1. Q: The SA Human Rights Commission has recommended that the DA-led administration, together with the erstwhile ANC-led municipality, must be criminally prosecuted regarding the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant in Hammanskraal. This as residents there were forced to deal with undrinkable water. Your comment please.

A: The Human Rights Commission’s recommendation is unfortunate and baseless. The Commission knows full well that plans are afoot to remedy the situation at the Rooiwal plant.                              

  1. Q: What is the administration’s policy regarding the issue of undocumented foreign migrants in the City? 

A: The issue falls out of the jurisdiction of the City as it is the duty of the Department of Home Affairs. But I must admit that [this] compounds the problem of illegal land invasion. The Home Affairs department must do its job in this regard. DM

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  • The EFF is going to have a lot of fun in Tshwane over the next few years :/

    Come the next election ActionSA will eat many more votes from ANC and DA but the council will remain fractured. Even when the ANC internal alliances break it (finally)