There are deliberate efforts to create conditions for the Tshwane metro to be placed under administration.
This is according to Cilliers Brink, mayor of the Tshwane metro, after the Tshwane metro council failed to approve the clean-up budget on Thursday. There is still time to do this today and sessions in this regard continue.
“I am concerned that the postponement of yesterday’s meeting of the Tshwane Metro Council is part of a deliberate attempt to prevent the majority of councilors from approving the clean-up budget and presenting a draft budget for the next financial year.
“If these two budget items are not approved by the council today, it will create the pretext for the Gauteng provincial government to intervene in the Tshwane metro. I am convinced that, as in the past, such ‘intervention’ will serve an ulterior political purpose and be disastrous for service delivery and financial management in the capital.”
According to Brink, this is also consistent with statements made by Panyaza Lesufi, Premier of Gauteng, in his capacity as the provincial chairman of the ANC in the recent past.
For the greater part of February and March, the Tshwane metro effectively did not have an executive mayor and mayors’ committee, and therefore the deadlines for the approval of the clean-up budget and the tabling of a draft budget for the next financial year were missed.
City manager Johann Mettler consulted the Gauteng and national treasury about an extended timeline, and both agreed to give the metro a chance until today.
“If the metro does not meet these adjusted deadlines, there may not be enough time to consult the public on the proposed fares, budget allocations and development plan changes in time for the new financial year.
Brink believes that the metro council could have dealt with the two important budget items yesterday, but that the speaker of the council granted a total of five hours of caucus just before 17:00 it was decided that the meeting would not continue any longer. The meeting resumed at 11:00 on Friday.
“I suspect that certain factions within the ANC and EFF believe that they can benefit if government control of the Tshwane metro is transferred to the provincial executive committee of Lesufi. But such a move will almost certainly be devastating for the people of the Tshwane metro.”
The last time the Gauteng provincial government placed the city under administration, the move was dismissed as unconstitutional and illegal. However, according to Brink, it took seven months before the courts finally reached this conclusion.
“During that period, from March to October 2020, revenue collection and internal controls in the city collapsed, and councilors were prevented from supervising the work of administrators and officials. This ‘administration’ also coincided with the Covid-19 lockdown, and subsequently the city was left with an operating deficit of R4.3 billion from which it has still not recovered.
“I therefore call on the leadership of political parties in the council as well as the speaker to act in the best interest of the people of the Tshwane metro and allow the majority of councilors to pass the clean-up budget and table the draft budget for the next financial year.”
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