The Eastern Cape department of Cooperative governance says it will continue to implement the amendment of the section 12 notice of the Municipal Structures Act in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, despite the majority of council rejecting the proposed changes. The COGTA MEC, Xolile Nqata, wants to change the current mayoral committee governance system in the metro to a ward participatory system, for a more inclusive form of government.
On Friday, 64 members of the 120 seat council voted against the proposal, saying it is an attempt to keep the ANC in power.
Political instability, a non-functional mayoral committee and poor service delivery are the listed reasons behind the proposed change. The EFF however, believe this decision has a more sinister reason behind it. Its regional chairperson Khanya Gqisha says there is no genuine reason for the implementation of an amended section 12.
“We are of the view that the MEC does not have a genuine reason for wanting to implement section 12. We feel that the reason is biased, there is a political agenda and MEC cannot differentiate between its political mandate from ANC and its role as an MEC which is to be neutral and implement everything for the benefit of municipalities, “she said.
DA mayoral candidate, Retief Odendaal, says the MEC must come and explain.
“This metro has a 15 billion rand budget and it is clear that the ANC does not want to let go of their pay strings. The MEC must come to NMB and explain why it has not offered support to the council when other organisations asked him to. It is clear that this move is political, and therefore the MEC and the ANC must prepare themselves for the fight of their lives. Nelson Mandela bay is not up for all their looting anymore,” said Odendaal.
Political analyst, Dr Ntsikelelo Breakfast, says there are constitutional provisions in place to intervene in local government.
“There is no constitutional provision for that; there are two routes that the municipality can take. The first is to have the MEC take over the administration, there is a constitutional provision for that. The second one is to have a rerun. but I think as things stand right now the MEC wants to bring the ANC through the back door and make the take-over because you can’t impose a system that is not informed by a constitutional provision, “said Breakfast.
The department says council members were only expected to note the proposal, not vote on it. The spokesperson for the COGTA department, Makhaya Komisa, says the proposal is not up for discussion.
“The process of considering an alternative for governance started as far back as may. The law doesn’t provide for the council to accept or reject the proposed models. it will issue. There have been enough for the council to note the notice of intention. This will be followed by a public participation process calling for comments,” said Komisa.
The ANC in the province shares the view of COGTA, but the fight for political control of the metro continues. Last week opposition parties signed a coalition agreement with the intention of removing the ANC-led coalition from power.