Well that didn’t take too long. The National People’s Party has already descended into infighting and expulsions.
The NPP was formed by a number of Western Cape councilors with much bluster and hype who hoped to break the DA alliance on the Cape Town City Council and set themselves up to be king makers in the region. For those of you who can remember back to the most recent municipal elections this was the same tactic the ID tried and just like for the ID it failed miserably, with the DA still retaining control of Cape Town. The ID had to change track when it’s voters went into open revolt over it’s decision to ally with the ANC and is now a partner to the DA.
The NPP, having no voters, instead now has to turn in on itself. Come the next municipal elections I predict they’ll be all but wiped out.
Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille was arrested for taking part in a march against drug dealers on the Cape Flats.
There seems to be some confusion as to whether the march was legal. This article from News24 claims the march was legal, this article from IOL claims that Zille was arrested for attending an ‘illegal gathering’.The use of ‘illegal gatherings’ to disperse marchers is a bit concerning. According to our Constitution, section 17 of the Bill of Rights states:
Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions.
So unless these protesters were brandishing weapons and tipping over cars, something I don’t think Helen Zille would associate herself with, there couldn’t have been much of a problem?
There’s nothing I hate more in politics than pettiness. And this report from the Johannesburg City Council is a prime example.
As a result of a ruling approved by the ANC’s 136 councillors last week, the amount of time each party is allowed on the floor of the chamber will be proportional to their amount of elected representatives.
The smallest parties such as the IFP will therefore only be allowed to speak for four seconds while even the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which has 59 councillors, can only speak for two-and-a-half minutes.
I think the ANC councillors knew exactly that when they passed this ruling. Of course with the size of the ANC majority in the council it wouldn’t have mattered if the opposition parties were given unlimited time on the floor, the outcome would have been the same.
A few months ago the national and provincial housing departments excluded the Cape Town municipality from the N2 Gateway Housing project claiming that it was a project of national importance. Well that decision seems to have come back to haunt them because the CT municipality would have been perfect scapegoats for the current problems at the project.
Residents slam govt houses
It will cost millions of rand to repair structural damage caused by poor workmanship to the N2 Gateway housing project.
Richard Dyantyi, provincial minister of housing, said it was shocking that problems were being experienced at rental units in phase 1 less than a year after construction.
The N2 gateweay project is still way way behind schedule. 705 units have been made available but when you consider that Cape Town has a housing backlog of 400 000 people then it really is more of a shiny showcase than an actual solution to Cape Town’s housing problem.
For service delivery to happen, government needs to spend money. Lots and lots of money in the particular case of South Africa. Every year SARS collects a record amount of tax revenue ready to be distributed to all level of government and used in their fight against poverty. Despite receiving all that money local government just can’t seem to spend it all.
With only 27.4 percent of the budget spent by the end of February and three months to go before the end of the 2006/07 financial year, Mayco member for corporate services Belinda Walker said on Wednesday it was not only a lack of capacity prohibiting budget spend, but also procurement legislation.
It is not a good sign that Cape Town local government has only managed to spend just over a quarter of it’s budget when three quarters of the financial year has passed. It’s unclear if all the blame can be laid at the foot of national treasury legislation holding up spending at municipalities, but if there’s to be any hope of meaningful service delivery both local and national government need to sort this kind of problem out.
One of the more controversial plans put forward by the Department of Housing has been the idea to build low cost housing alongside or in more expensive housing areas. Of course the greatest outcry to the plan came from existing (white) property owners and (white) property developers. In Durban however it seems that the outcry has turned to into something more physical:
...angry residents … demolished a matchbox council house being built in the area’s affluent section…
Now two people have been arrested and are due to appear in court on charges of malicious damage to property.
The house, which was at roof level when it was destroyed, was part of an eThekwini Municipality project to build low-cost housing in Ward 97…
Existing property owners were vocal about their opposition to further construction of low cost housing:
We spoke to the owner, a guy from Umhlanga, and asked him, ‘Do you think what you are building will fit in here? Would you be happy if we came to your suburb and started building cheap houses…
Why can’t they build these houses across the road from here, which is an area demarcated for low-cost housing?
We have invested in our homes and you can’t just come here and do as you please. What will the banks (who have financed these houses) say about this? We are prepared to go to the High Court to fight this if we have to.
That’s pretty harsh words and the destruction of the constructed house shows they’re willing to act on them.
Of course if I had linked to the article reporting on this earlier you would have known that the residents who did the demolition were in fact black.
Which just goes to show, NIMBYism crosses all colour lines.
Mayor Of Cape Town Helen Zille has announced that she will be running for the position of leader of the DA.
If she wins she will not be vacating her post as mayor and instead will have to simultaneously juggle both positions. For instance she will have daily 7am meetings with her mayoral staff and then an hour later pop over to parliament for another meeting with national DA staff.
Personally I don’t think it’s a good idea. Cape Town is really too important for the DA to mess up. If they do the ANC will pounce on the opportunity to show the DA are incapable of governing. With the upcoming preparations for 2010 and no doubt some further attacks by the ANC on getting her out of power I feel Zille needs to be 100% committed to Cape Town.
Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Marius Fransman has proposed a moratorium on employment equity in order to lure back skilled white expats to the Western Cape. While I’m sure many will applaud this proposal the fact is that it’s not going to work.
Most skilled South Africans who leave don’t do it because of employment equity, they do so either to earn more money, for better employment opportunities in their field or for travel. The growing number of black South Africans seeking work opportunities out of the country is a testament to the lure of working overseas. Other countries, especially Commonwealth countries, face the same difficulty of losing skilled workers to London and Europe. There are probably as many Australians as South Africans in the UK but I don’t think they left Australia due to employment equity back home.Update: Manual stands firm in equity debate
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel on Thursday poured cold water on calls for a change to affirmative action and the country’s employment equity law.
However he does admit that current law is not being implemented correctly
It is there. In its practice it frequently is very poorly used. It is sadly abused, but it is there and the intent of the Act is abundantly clear.
What do you do if you’re virtually a lame duck premier, having already been removed from provincial party leadership and now biding time while you wait for the next elections and your inevitable exit from power? Why you start a blog (h/t Africannibas)!! I guess he needs something to keep him busy between disciplinary panel hearings.
I initially thought the AMP’s dalliance (and subsequent booting out of the DA coalition) was confined strictly to the local level with perhaps a few provincial leaders from both sides involved. However it has been revealed by AMP Chairman Gulam Sabdia that ANC Chairman (and Minister of Defence) Masiuoa Lekota was heavily involved in negotiations.
I guess the fact that the DA controls Cape Town is still a bit of an irritating itch for the ANC. The obsessiveness the ANC is showing here in trying to get the DA out of power is also a bit concerning especially considering the ‘truce’ of sorts that followed the last attempt where Provincial MEC for Local Government Richard Diyanti was going to use his legislative power to remove the executive committee system used in Cape Town. In return for calling that off the ANC were granted 5 more local sub-councils. I wonder if the gloves will come off further.