Business Day

No-show by EFF paralyses Joburg

- Claudi Mailovich Political Writer

Johannesbu­rg’s city council is facing political paralysis that could scupper its coalition-led government and affect its ability to deliver services to the people of the city.

Its last three meetings, of which the first was a special council meeting, collapsed amid bickering among the three main parties.

Councillor­s took no decisions of substance because the meetings had to be adjourned in the absence of quorums.

The ANC was able to force the adjournmen­ts by walking out as the EFF, a crucial voting partner of the coalition, did not attend the meetings.

This has led to mayor Herman Mashaba appealing to the EFF to attend meetings.

On Wednesday, the council again failed to deliberate on the implementa­tion of public consultati­ons on the 2018-19 Integrated Developmen­t Plan (IDP), a requiremen­t in the Municipal Finances Management Act and a

vital cog in the budgeting process. The IDP sets out the municipali­ty’s goals and developmen­t plans and aligns them with its available resources.

The city indicated that it would send a letter to Gauteng co-operative governance and traditiona­l affairs MEC Paul Mashatile and Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy to ask for an extension to submit the IDP and budget process plan.

The council will sit again on Thursday, but it is not clear if the EFF will attend.

Mashaba said the political gridlock had negatively affected the institutio­nal review that he was set to table to deal with the reintegrat­ion of the city’s entities, such as City Power, the Johannesbu­rg Roads Agency and Joburg Water, among other things.

ANC city spokesman Jolidee Matongo said the party would also write to Mashatile to ask him to place the council under administra­tion, a way of managing dysfunctio­nal municipali­ties.

Geoffrey Makhubo of the ANC said the situation was showing voters that coalitions were problemati­c.

The DA-led coalition took power in 2016 with the votes of the EFF, although the EFF was not a coalition partner. Mashaba said he was appealing to the EFF to reconsider coming in.

“They are the ones that took the decision to work with us to make sure we take the ANC out of power. The ANC is determined to come back through the back door,” the mayor said.

It is understood that the EFF is boycotting DA-led council meetings due to the impasse in Nelson Mandela Bay in which the DA ousted the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani as deputy mayor. The EFF has said it would teach the DA a lesson in working with smaller parties.

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