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LETTER FROM DM168 EDITOR

Coalition clowns in council give Tshwane residents a big wake-up call

Coalition clowns in council give Tshwane residents a big wake-up call
Dr Murunwa Makwarela of Cope celebrates with ANC and EFF members after he was elected mayor of Tshwane on 28 February. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier)

Another Friday, another week of the stop-start, two steps forward, 10 steps back move that seems to be the most popular dance craze among our politicians.

Dear DM168 readers,

As I write this my beloved city, Tshwane, is arrested by chaos and mayhem in its council chambers. ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula is leading an ANC march to City Hall, determined to take back the administrative capital for the national governing party, which lost the support of voters in 2016.

Tshwane is a stand-out example of how fragile and fickle coalition politics is. DA coalition mayor Randall Williams resigned after taking the fall for the Auditor-General’s damning report on the City of Tshwane’s financials, confirming there was more than R10-billion in irregular expenditure. 

He was replaced by the ANC-EFF coalition-backed Cope councillor Dr Murunwa Makwarela, who was removed by the City manager, Johan Mettler, because he was found to be insolvent. But Makwarela was reinstated when he provided a court document showing he was rehabilitated; however, he resigned when this document was found to be fraudulent.

These politicians are a laugh-a-minute and I can see them starring in a Monty Python-esque comedy series about changing political allegiances more often than they change their underwear. But more than R10-billion irregularly spent is no joke. And there are absolutely no angels walking with their wings aglow in the corridors of the Tshwane City Hall.

Since it took over from the ANC in 2016, the DA-led coalition has stumbled from one crisis to another, quickly learning there is absolutely no loyalty among thieves or opposition councillors.

ActionSA, a partner in the multipartner coalition led by the DA, is opening a criminal case against City of Tshwane councillors who allegedly offered a R2-million bribe to an ActionSA councillor for them to vote in favour of Makwarela as mayor.

And earlier this week, the DA lived up to its Desperate Alternative label when it foolishly got its party members to mark their ballot papers with numbers instead of crosses in a bid to weed out defectors who were either bribed or promised positions to vote against the DA coalition candidate for Speaker. In the end, the Electoral Commission of South Africa declared the 69 DA votes spoilt, ushering in an African Transformation Movement councillor, Mncedi Ndzwanana, as Speaker. Now that’s an own-goal.


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Right now, as I write, I don’t know who our new mayor is, but I do know that all of us residents of Tshwane have had a big wake-up call to start putting pressure on all of these clowns to do what they were voted in to do – namely, serve us the residents and get the city back in shape so our basic infrastructure such as electricity, water and roads are maintained. That’s just for starters. 

Red flags

In all these shenanigans in our city, the wily hands of the now 10-year-old enfant terrible of our body politics, the EFF, can be clearly seen. Julius Malema’s Red Berets first kicked out the ANC by voting in DA mayors and then helped to kick out the DA when they joined ANC coalitions across the three big Gauteng metros – Joburg, Ekurhuleni and now Tshwane.

Our lead story in this week’s paper is an analysis of the Economic Freedom Fighters by our political writer, Queenin Masuabi. Not only is the party planning to shut down the country on Monday, 20 March, but it is also pushing for our indecisive President Cyril Ramaphosa to go and play with his Ankole cattle and buffalo.

The EFF cannot be ignored, whether you like or loathe its antics. Its coalitions in Gauteng could easily be a dry run for 2023 if the ANC falls short of 50% and needs the EFF’s vote to stay in charge. Have a read of Queenin’s insights into 10 years of the EFF; she goes beyond fearmongering and looks at what is behind the young party’s rise and rise.

Heroes and havoc

An added exclusive treat for those who are scrambling for crumbs of hope is a truly inspiring story by Estelle Ellis, Hoseya Jubase, Bheki Simelane, Tamsin Metelerkamp and Takudzwa Pongweni. These reporters braved the public hospital picket lines where Nehawu strikers were causing havoc and preventing patients from getting medical treatment.

They found many ordinary South African heroes who emerged to pick up the pieces and ensure hospitals were clean and patients were cared for and fed. Read their amazing stories in tomorrow’s paper.

As usual, write to me at [email protected] to make a contribution to the national conversation about how to fix what’s ailing us, or whatever else moves you to write.

Yours in defence of truth,

Heather

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    Where is the ‘rise and rise’ of the EFF? Their results in recent municipality elections has been more like ‘going nowhere fast’. They only survive through the disproportionate publicity that the media gives to them. Their deputy leader appears to be on the slow train to appearing in court for his alleged thieving from VBS and Malema can not be far behind in this journey. They will soon disappear.

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