The Gauteng provincial government has dissolved the troubled City of Tshwane Municipal Council and will appoint an administrator to run the municipality until a new Council is elected in 90 days.
Premier David Makhura, accompanied by Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile, made the announcement on Thursday morning in Johannesburg.
He said the provincial government has a constitutional responsibility to “create stability and ascertain continuity of service delivery” for Tshwane’s residents.
‘We’ll not be blackmailed’
Makhura added, “The Gauteng Executive Council met on Wednesday afternoon to assess the developments in the City Tshwane and decided to invoke section 139(1) (c) of the Constitution.
“This means the Tshwane Municipal Council is dissolved and an administrator will be appointed to run the Municipality.”
Makhura also took a swipe at the Democratic Alliance (DA) for threatening legal action in case section 139(1) (c) is invoked.
“We take note of veiled threats of court action by leaders of a particular political party, but we will not be blackmailed into inaction. We want to warn political parties not to play political games with the lives of residents of the City of Tshwane,” he said.
DA’s threat of court action
At a media briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday, DA interim leader John Steenhuisen accused the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of deliberately collapsing Council meetings to pave way for the City to be placed under administration.
He said should the provincial government invoke section 139 as a result, it would be tantamount to abuse of power.
“I want to make it very clear that we will resist the Section 139 intervention by Maile. And if we need to take that matter on review to court, we will be prepared to do so,” Steenhuisen said.
The ANC and EFF have been pushing for a motion of no confidence in Council speaker Katlego Mathebe, who, along with the DA, have repeatedly rebuffed their attempts.
The Council was thrown into disarray following the controversy surrounding former Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and former MMC Sheila Senkubuge last year.
Both Mokgalapa and Senkubuge have since resigned, leaving the City without a Mayor. The ANC and EFF are reportedly in talks to form an alliance or coalition to run the City.