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Vote DA, get EFF with a big shot of ANC

The DA responds and says: ‘Look at the scoreboard’.

The City of Tshwane’s DA mayor, Solly Msimanga, resigned from office on Friday, saying he wants to focus on his role as the party’s candidate for the Gauteng premiership in the upcoming national and provincial elections.

Msimanga has been leading a multi-party government in the City of Tshwane since 2016. In the municipal elections that year, no party secured a majority and the DA at national level came to an agreement with the United Democratic Movement (UDM), Congress of the People (Cope), Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) at that stage said it would vote with the DA permitted the budget is pro-poor.

That the role of the EFF as kingmaker was crucial would become very clear.

In Tshwane the DA moved into government and expectations were high. Top of the agenda was the irregular smart meter contract with PEU Capital Partners that was central in the DA’s pre-election criticism of the ANC. Even the ANC earlier admitted that it was unaffordable at about R4 million per day.

Moneyweb reported last week that the DA-led city is still merrily paying PEU millions every day, despite a court order in October last year clearing the way for the city to show the supplier the door and stop the financial haemorrhaging.

Read: Paralysed DA-led Tshwane still merrily paying PEU millions

This the party blamed on the administration. It has in fact increasingly tried to distance itself from the administration as questionable decisions have come to light, saying councillors are not allowed to get involved in the administration.

Party leaders further often voice frustration with unresponsive officials whom they consider to be ANC deployees and are in their view sabotaging the DA-led city government.

Msimanga and Dr Moeketsi Mosola, the city manager he appointed, are at loggerheads. Mosola had political ties with Agang SA and no local government experience when he took the position.

Msimanga has since tried to suspend Mosola from his role in the irregular GladAfrica tender, but the ANC and EFF joined forces in the Tshwane council to block this suspension. Generally speaking, it is the responsibility of the municipal council as the employer to ensure that the city manager complies with his contractual obligations and other applicable legal duties.

It seems however that the DA-led city government is at the mercy of the EFF and powerless to root out corruption and maladministration among ANC-aligned officials.

‘Not without recourse’

University of Pretoria public law professor Bernard Bekink says that while the city manager, in terms of local government legislation, has overall accountability for the administration and any decision to hold him to account resides with the council in accordance with his employment contract, the DA is not without recourse where it seems political meddling may be preventing it from holding its city manager to account.

If Mosola acts unlawfully by doing something in contravention of the law or his employment contract, the mayor, his party or any other person or entity with an interest could, for example, approach a court for an order to stop such conduct.

He says that while a court would not normally interfere in the political sphere it could set aside the decision of the Tshwane council not to suspend Mosola if that decision is found to be irrational. The decision would then be remitted back to the council.

The DA has been quick to run to court in so many instances, yet in Tshwane it seems to be paralysed.

Bekink says that if the administration is not functioning properly, there is in fact an obligation for the DA to intervene, or risk intervention by the ANC-led provincial or national government.

Political analyst Professor Steven Friedman says it was curious that the EFF supported the DA to get into government in Tshwane and Johannesburg, without getting anything in return.

He adds that it has however become clear that the EFF in Johannesburg and Pretoria gave support to DA minorities because it got control of tender processes.

He points out that the DA in Tshwane can of course act against Mosola and the administration, but it cannot do so and remain in power at the same time.

It is problematic if the agreements among minority parties are not transparent to voters, Friedman says. It could result in a situation where the electorate does not get better service because of such agreements, which are more about dividing the cake.

DA credibility

Friedman says there is an impression that a DA government necessarily comes with more efficiency, but the 95% of voters in metropolitan suburbs who vote for the DA could become disillusioned as the DA loses credibility.

They will however keep on voting DA as they see no viable alternative.

The picture is clearly more complex than many people think. There isn’t only one good party and one bad party, Friedman says.

Why is the DA in Tshwane getting away with its failure to take accountability for the acts and omissions of its administration? Friedman says it is simple. There is just not enough pressure on the party to do so. “Politicians respond to pressure.”

It will be interesting to see if Mosola stays on. Or was there a deal for both to go?

The question for the DA’s Gauteng premiership candidate is how he will deal with a repeat of the Tshwane situation.

If no party gets a majority in the upcoming provincial election, will he get into bed with the EFF again? At what price? And will he take responsibility for an administration filled with ANC cadres?

Tshwane might come back to haunt him.

Following the publication of this article DA member of the Tshwane mayoral committee Cilliers Brink responded as follows: 

Look at the scoreboard to see a DA difference in Tshwane

The respected Moneyweb reporter Antoinette Slabbert unfortunately gets way ahead of herself in reporting on DA governance in City of Tshwane. Her commentary confirms a media trend which should be called out: while the ANC is measured against failure, and the EFF against disaster, the DA’s performance is measure against perfection.  

Let us start with the facts that Slabbert has failed to appreciate. The DA-led government in Tshwane has turned the R2 billion operating deficit we inherited from the ANC into a surplus. We have used the resources of the municipality to fight unlawful tenders in Court, including the PEU smart meter scam. And under DA rule the City’s credit outlook has been upgraded from “negative” to “stable”.

This means the City can borrow more money, at lower rates, to build service infrastructure. Our financial recovery has also meant that we have been able to spend more money on repairing and maintain existing infrastructure; 21% more in this financial year to be precise. Just compare the R5 million spend by the ANC administration on fixing sinkholes in Centurion to the R25 million spent in the last financial year, and budgeted for this financial year.

Now let’s turn to more specific issues raised by Slabbert’s reporting.

Tshwane has not failed to implement the smart meter remedy

It started last week with a somewhat gratuitous piece in which she implies that the DA-led City government has failed to implement the Court order in the PEU smart meter case, and that it blames sabotage by officials, instead of taking responsibility. This is the case on which so much of our electoral mandate is based.

The City is not in breach of the Court order, and has not failed to do anything in extricating itself from the smart meter contract. The order allows the City to trigger a four-month transition period in which the PEU meters and system are replaced with those of the City. The City determines when it is ready to trigger the transition period. Doing so before the officialdom is ready could itself derail the whole project.  

Yes, it would have been ideal if the transition period could have been triggered earlier. Much of the inefficiencies and irregularities which inherited from the ANC two years ago have not yet been fixed. Stepping into the chaos of a nearly bankrupt, almost broken municipal administration is tough.  We have been very candid with Slabbert and other reporters about the challenges we face in Tshwane. Not because we cannot overcome them, but to manage expectations of instant results and oversight perfection.  

No, the delays in the procurement process do not imply that the project to replace PEU meters and systems with those of the City are being sabotaged by ANC-aligned officials. Knowing Tshwane history, and what still needs to be done to overturn the ANC’s legacy, the Mayoral Committee is watching the tender process with an eagle eye. If we spot ANC-saboteurs, we will call them out.

There is a single tender that needs to be awarded for the City to feel confident about announcing the transition period. It is in the final stages of the tender process. But even if this tender had already been awarded, it would have been ill-advised for the City to trigger the four-month transition before the December-January construction holiday.

The outstanding tender is for the supply of electricity meters. MoneyWeb sources claim that because the tender does not provide for bulk discounts, and is instead based on unit prices, it points to defective specifications.

Two facts are perhaps not so self-evident. First, the tender is not for the supply of the same kind of meter, but different meters which offer different functionality. Second, the tender will be used to procure meters on an as-and-when basis, not only to replace the 12,900 PEU meters. Supply chain experts can surely debate whether this is sufficient grounds to specify unit prices, instead of bulk prices, but we do not think it points to an irregularity in the procurement process.

Holding the City Manager to account

Without waiting for our right of reply, Slabbert then penned her next piece on the DA in Tshwane, partly on the strength of the first one. “It seems”, she writes about the DA’s fight with the wholly recalcitrant City Manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola, “that the DA-led city government is at the mercy of the EFF and powerless to root out corruption and maladministration among ANC-aligned officials.”

Again, one must first set out the facts before commenting on them. Mayor Solly Msimanga reported his suspicion to Tshwane’s municipal council in September last year that Mosola had awarded an irregular tender to a so-called project management service provider called Glad Africa.

The information came from internal and external whistle blowers, and the Mayor recommended to the municipal council, the only body that can decide these matters, that Mosola be suspended pending a forensic investigation. The investigation was supported by the DA and the ANC, and went ahead. The suspension was blocked by the ANC and the EFF.

Mosola then obtained a labour court interdict against the investigation, claiming that the municipal council followed the wrong procedure in acting against him. The merits of the case are still to be heard, and one of Mosola’s deputies have since intervened in the case against Mosola.

To face down a powerful civil servant determined to use state resources to escape accountability, and to do you political harm, is messy and unpleasant. But in South Africa it is by no means unusual. Neither the DA nor our coalition partners in Tshwane have given up on holding Mosola to account. A second report into his alleged misconduct will serve at this month’s meeting of the municipal council.

Compare the Mosola case to how the ANC government in Tshwane treated Mosola’s predecessor, and the mastermind behind the PEU smart meter contract, Jason Ngobeni. His breach of supply chain management laws and regulations weren’t reported to Council, and the then ANC mayor defended Ngobeni as a loyal ANC cadre to the end. Imagine if Mosola had been City Manager under the ANC, and you will appreciate that the DA has made a difference in Tshwane.

Whether this suits the EFF or not is beside the point. It did not deter Solly Msimanga from executing his mandate, and it will not deter his successor as Mayor of Tshwane.

Read the DA’s right of reply here

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“At the core of all successful societies are procedures for blocking the advancements of bad men.” Aint gonna happen in Sefrica. EFF has DA by the b@lls. Get out while you can.

As with every other politician, it is always somebody else’s fault. I yet to find a politician in power anywhere in the world admitting that he screwed up.

The worst is that if you votela ANC you get the worst of the worst – the ANC.

As an ex local government staffer I despair whether the DA will ever learn to appoint competent dedicated professionals to key positions in towns and cities. There are exceptions, but generally the DA is well known for this idiotic idea that you can take a skilled businessman/woman and turn them into professional public servants overnight. The end result of appointing a recognized business person in such positions with limited if any understanding of the work environment is utter frustration for staffers and worse, anger in the community because service delivery inevitably fails.

I hope a senior in the DA will read this and take note. It’s a simple thing to grasp if you truly apply your mind. There are too many examples of people appointed to top positions whose confidence and abilities have been destroyed because the job requires conceptual, technical and interpersonal skills which are not generic in society.

Put differently, no sane municipal manager would accept a position of CEO of a large complex corporate and satisfy shareholders.

You make a valid point but are there any “competent dedicated professionals” left to promote?

One also has to take into account the generally demoralised and inefficient climate of the SA economy.

In an ideal world, yes, but one has to take account of the ANC’s civil service, ethnic cleansing, cadre deployment, patronage politics and AA. It is generally conceded that it takes about three to five years to learn a particular level in a business or state hierarchy; it may be easier to switch someone from, say a private civil engineering background to a public one. That is, it may be easier to learn new laws/regulations and suppliers than technical skills.

Sounds a lot better than what the ANC does, hires whoever will make the least noise when it’s collections time. God knows who the EFF would hire.

I learned a few things since the last local government election:
1. I voted for the DA but ended up getting a “de facto” EFF in charge
2. My municipal account increased by over 50% in two years 2016 to 2018
3. The DA after all is not the super efficient super hero savers we had hoped for and were let to believe. They are politicians after all.
4. The DA tends to score more own goals than real goals.
5. Service delivery & the state of the city has not improved. Filth & over grown pavements are still there. (this is in greater JHB)
6 That any party not of the ANC cloth will be sabotaged and prevented from doing service to the community.

The shenanigans, maladministration and poor service delivery from the DA run City of Cape Town is more proof they do not work of the people.The billing system is on a par with Jo,burg. Trying to get a billing query resolved in Cape Town, especially water management is farting against thunder. Very few complaints and reporting goes further than the call center. Its fast becoming vagrant city.
Red tape is to the extreme if you need any kind of permit and lucky to get what you need.
They have promoted an attitude of arrogance from the rate payers and residents against any city officials (who are never wrong) or by laws.
Who to vote for….Dunno

Vote for COPE. It has a REAL leader who also has street cred.

The DA have been in power for what, 2 years in JHB for example.

Do you really expect that anyone could come in a fix the massive mess that the ANC made of JHB in 2 years?

Seems to me they have made huge strides, yes the munic bill is higher but that’s because the valuation roll was updates, it would have happened either way.

So yes, they can do better but to properly manage a city you need long term planning, that means 10 years or the like before we see the true outcome of what they are doing.

Lastly, there really is no alternative, EFF are useless, ANC, just look at every other province they manage, others are too small so that’s it then.

Well at least any journo extensively quoting deployed cadre and former unionist Steven “Useless Idiot” Friedman has nailed her colours to the mast.

With hindsight, it is clear that the choice for the DA was to remain on the sidelines, aloof, while the ANC continued its plundering in Tswane or to make the best of a bad situation. Even the most ardent DA-basher must concede that by replacing the ANC, they have put a halt to the most egregious looting, albeit with much still to be done in rooting out corrupt deployed cadres.

Contrary to the ANC narrative, the DA which is anti poverty should be able to find common ground with being “pro poor”. Indeed, the DA administrations in its “new” metros have tried to reduce some of the backlog of ANC neglect, in which it is constrained by the ANC’s fiscal irresponsibility (which the very journos covering,say, SAA and Eskom fail to see in the metros).

The DA has a track record of firing its own members for corruption, from Jhb to CT to Oudtshoorn and of trying in NMB and Tswane. As we have seen, one of the ANC’s outstanding strengths is using Stalingrad Strategies, along with cover-ups and playing the RaceCard to defeat the ends of justice.

Currently events in those supposed bastions of democracy (USA and UK) with shutdowns and deadlocks show the potential hazards of minority governments. In SA, with the supposed “Mr Clean” New Dawn ANC holding power within the ANC by a whisker and much double-dealing, giving Concomitant Actionman a blank cheque as some “Vote ANC” otherwise sensible journos are proposing is simply too risky. Contrary to the headline, voting DA (or ACDP, Agang, Cope, FF+ or IFP, if those are your preference) will be placing pressure on the ANC to act in the interests of ALL South Africans, rather than bowing to EFF racist and “Venezuela” politics.

Well said.

Being Venezuelan by birth, I can tell you that if somehow the EFF comes into power then that would be the end of democracy in SA. The resemblance to Venezuela’s history is striking at the momnet, hopefully the same fate does not come to pass here.

Well here’s a novel thought on the removal of the city manager – if a court has ruled that the contract has no force and they are still funding PEU per the contract then he is in contempt of court and can be summarily dismissed and the funds paid are recoverable – QED.
With the gang of Musi, Solly, and Herman the DA are on the road to losing the elections in May – what I want to see is rubber on the road stuff and not have to listen to motor mouths like these 3

DA did nothing good for the Tshwane Metro, not even a single thing in fact standard of service delivery has deteriorated, nothing has improved. They are insulting the people by putting forth Solly as a possible candidate. He’ll make the entire administration of the ANC look great.

Nonetheless, voting ANC in the next round of elections, they were delivering.

This sort of short sighted voting in SA is why the country is in such a mess.

You get the leadership you deserve, I just wish people would have to stay in the towns where they voted and reap all the benefits of the next PEC contract or the like.

As far as I’m concerned the DA is as, if not more incompetent than the ANC. My rates have increased by 70% under the DA while the basic services like refuse removal, road and traffic light maintenance etc have all gone backwards. Based on anecdotal evidence, the corruption within the JMPD is higher now than ever before. Not that it matters, but the DA will NEVER see my vote ever again. Yes, I know that some will say they’r the lesser of 2 evils, but I’v reached the point where I’ll either not vote than vote for any of the mainstream parties. “The trees kept voting for the axe as it had a wooden handle and the trees believed this axe to be one of them”

Rates increased because the valuation roll was updated, this would have happened regardless of what party was in power.

Personally seen the same or better services but that’s in my area, unsure how it’s going across JHB in general.

Lastly,it doesn’t sound like you understand half of whats happening good and bad in JHB,

Always an excuse on hand when the DA fuxup…

The DA is dead to me. Mmusi is just too much of a clown for me to take the party seriously anymore.

I have no idea who I’ll be voting for in May, but I do know it won’t be the ANC, EFF or DA.

“They will however keep on voting DA as they see no viable alternative.” There is, COPE.

I feel for Trollip who was doing a pretty good job of the absolute mess that is NMB and yet was voted out because he was white. It seems the EFF vote purely on racial lines, is that constitutional? I’d guess not but who cares as long as it involves the right mix of demographics.

Are you a DA member?

Must be, from the brain-dead twaddle he keeps repeating.

ISIS has a better delivery track record than the ANC.

@rfjock – Bit harsh hey? Since DA took over in Joburg my council account is correct for the first time in 6 years, and no – I’m not a DA member (still hold my membership card for VideoTown though)

“They will however keep on voting DA as they see no viable alternative.”

Well, YEAH!

Always puzzled by the media’s obsession with having a go at the DA and building up the EFF as these master political strategists. Of course the DA makes mistakes and getting into bed with the EFF was a massive mistake.

The DA does however govern infinitly better than the ANC. Any person that would vote ANC instead of DA on the basis that it is likely to govern better is criminally insane and should be locked up to protect the rest of us!

I agree with the D A’s response. Slabbert should learn the meaning of audi alterum partem ( let the other side be heard). She has lost my respect. There is too much sloppy one sided journalism in S A. Moneyweb should also up their game in publishing one side of the story. I have always respected your publication up to now.

Really depressed by the comments, seems reaqlly like cutting your nose to spite your face. Everybody has some small gripe about the DA it seems, but is it worthwile to give 70% of parliament seats to the ANC/EFF because your bin got collected a day late? Possibly even hand the Western Cape back to the ANC?

Latest ipsos poll: ANC 61%; DA 14%; EFF 9%; others 4% dont know 12%. So compared to 2014 ANC in same position, DA loses 8%, EFF gains 3% and others lose 5%. Very depressing. Obviously DA played no small part in this with especially the De Lille saga costing it dearly, but really people? Do you really prefer ANC or EFF to the DA? Mind really bogles.

If you choose not to vote and hand power to ANC/EFF (make no mistake they are one and the same) you also lose the right to whinge.

Agree wholeheartedly. Homilies about “baby and bathwater” come to mind but SA is the home of broedertwis. Aside from the DA’s failings; I admit it has plenty, it is not in any way comparable to the deeply corrupt and incompetent ANC that has pretty much bankrupted SA and the “revelations” are still coming out.

I believe the DA is the only option to possibly check the ANC; if you don’t vote, or vote for tiny parties, and the ANC triumphs, say in Tshwane or even the WC, maybe do not point fingers without noting that a few are pointing back at you. You got the government you deserve.

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