Interim Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen says today’s ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) is a win for democracy in the country. The SCA ruled in the DA’s favour, dismissing the appeal lodged by Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile.

The MEC asked the court to suspend the implementation of a Pretoria High Court judgment which overturned the decision to dissolve the Tshwane Metro and place it under administration.

Steenhuisen has called on Gauteng Premier David Makhura to fire Maile for undermining the democratic will of the people and not respecting the outcomes of the ballot box.

“What you cannot do is use another sphere of government as a weapon against another independent sphere of government, and try and usurp power through the back door that you weren’t able to get through the ballot box. So, this is a very significant precedent that we will be able to use, going forward, across the country, when you have predatory provincial administrations who abuse their constitutional power.”

New mayor

The Tshwane Metro is finally set to have a new mayor, at the latest next week. The DA says they are already in talks with the other parties represented in the Tshwane Metro Council to chart a way forward.

“I think that what you will see is a recognition that this thing has gone on for far too long. I think there is, certainly from our sense, a concentration of minds, that this whole fiasco that started since the program of destabilisation at round about this time last year, the residents of Tshwane have been done no service whatsoever,” says DA Gauteng Chairperson, Mike Moriarty.

He says the first council meeting might be called as early as Friday this week or at the latest, early next week.

“I think that you’ll find that there will be a cooperative attitude going forward. There isn’t a lot of time between now and the 2021 elections. I’m not anticipating the kind of disruptions that we saw late last year specifically and earlier this year.”

Coalition 

The DA coalition government was dissolved in March this year following a series of collapsed council meetings, and the city was placed under administration.

Chaos during a Tshwane Council meeting: 

Moriarty says they still have the African Christian Democratic Party, Freedom Front Plus, and Congress of the People on their side, and added that they want to have open cooperation with the African National Congress and Economic Freedom Fighters as well.

“I cannot predict the outcome but if you ask me if I’m confident my answer is yes: I’m confident.”

Asked when the party wants a mayor to be elected in Tshwane, he answered, “At the first council meeting, which is either going to be Friday at the earliest, possibly Monday, possibly a day or two after that. That’s how soon we want to get a mayor in place.”

There is, however, no guarantee the DA will take power in the capital as no party in the council has a 100% majority.

“There will be some form of coalition. It is impossible to predicate at this point in time. The conversations are only starting in terms of the actual make-up of that coalition. It may … let’s be quite frank here, there is nothing that stops the ANC and EFF from ganging together and forming their own coalition. They would have the numbers to do it.”

New candidate 

The DA mayoral candidate for Tshwane, Randall Williams, says he is ready to take up the baton if he is elected.

“The difficulty in restoring services, it all depends on what we are going to find. There’s for the last 6/7 months been no oversight over what the administrators have been doing. We were prevented from doing oversight. The only person they reported to was Maile. So, only Maile knows what is going on in the city. But we suspect we are not going to find good news.”