The task of governing and providing for Cape Town’s citizens is not getting easier for Mayor Helen Zille and the DA led coalition. New investigations have now shown that the housing shortage in Cape Town is a bit worse than expected. Instead of the previous estimation of the former ANC led council of 260 000 families that require housing, the new figure is closer to 400 000.
Good thing we’re spending R1.8 billion (and that’s a mimimum figure, could be closer to R4 billion) on a new stadium.
The ANC has continued discussions on whether it should significantly curtail provincial government. Previously I had thought that entire provinces themselves would be scrapped but it seems that rather the actual provincial government will be turned into a provincial administration (making Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool’s predictions come true). Provincial legislatures and MEC’s would disappear, although I’m not sure if the staff counts at provincial departments would be reduced when you consider the number of people they employ as well as their usage these days as ‘patronage’.Meanwhile in national government some MP’s are starting to wonder if perhaps this whole centralisation thing isn’t going a bit too far. With most legislature in parliament now being driven by the executive ANC MP’s are probably wandering the halls of parliament questioning what exactly it is they do. To quote the linked article:
Debate in the National Assembly really has started to look like the ritual observation of important days,” one senior ANC MP said. Instead of drawing confidence from their overwhelming majority, and putting difficult issues on the table, several ruling party MPs complain, their colleagues make worthy speeches on political anniversaries and leave the debating to the opposition.
This is probably another result of the ANC’s ‘speak no evil’ in public approach to party politics. There’s plenty of debate in closed door ANC meetings but little out in the open in parliament. Some ANC MP’s however would like to overcome their legislative impotence by trying to exert more control over departmental budgets, in order to have some kind of checks and balances control over the executive. MP’s actually could have done this already, unfortunately it seems most of them have been more than happy to be little more than highly paid rubber stamps for the past 12 years.
After some investigation the Cape Town city council has endorsed the plan to construct the planned World Cup stadium at Green Point. The price? Only somewhere between R3 billion and R4 billion. Which is a bit more than the initial R1.4 billion initially planned for. Added to this is the fact that the local government will only be able to supply about R400 million of that budget, relying national government and FIFA to supply the rest an arrangement that has yet to be decided on.
Now I’m all for the World Cup, I really am, but I can’t help but wonder if that money could be used elsewhere. For instance one of the reasons why a totally new stadium has to be built is because in order to host a semi-final FIFA requires a 68 000 seater stadium and the largest stadium currently in Cape Town, Newlands Rugby Stadium, only seats 55 000. The city council still Do hopes to convince FIFA to allow a semi-final to take place in a smaller stadium, and if accepted refurbishments to Newlands would only cost R1.8 billion. That, to me, is still the best option.
Also construction is supposed to start in January 2007. Are there even draft plans yet?
This is a strange story. The ANC mayor of the Berg River Municipality, Sanette Smit, has resigned suddenly claiming to have endured “racism, sexism, defamation and verbal abuse” supposedly from a provincial ANC leader. She’s remaining tightlipped on the alleged perpetrator’s identity having referred her complaints to the ANC to investigate although she does reserve the right to seek relief elsewhere (in other words a court case).
I’m still not clear why she had to resign as mayor though as she states she will be an ANC party member in the future. I assume it’s because as mayor she would have to interact with the alleged harasser regularly. So which ANC provincial leader would mayors have to deal with on a regular basis?
With all the focus on the past week being on the Zuma/ANC/SACP fracas we’ve neglected local politics. The most interesting story is the Ward 82 municipal by-election in Tafelsig that takes place tomorrow. Tafelsig was won by the ID in the municipal elections in March but after they sided with the ANC in the mayoral vote the ID candidate Sheval Arendse resigned and joined the DA (I assume out of protest) for whom he is now contesting the ward. If the DA win this ward they will double their lead (to a massive two votes) but more importantly this vote will demonstrate whether ID voters will continue to support the ID following their siding with the ANC.
Update: The DA won with nearly 70% of the vote compared to the ID’s 30%. Considering the ANC did not run in order to give more support to the ID this is not a good sign for Patricia De Lille. I wonder if she’ll suddenly veer away from the ANC when it’s clear that the impression the ID is making from siding with the ANC in certain votes is not going down with ID voters.
The ID have stated that from now on they will abstain from any council vote that could give the ANC control of the Cape Town council. No doubt the PR beatdown and (still simmering) supporter backlash the ID suffered after voting with the ANC against Helen Zille was a factor in this decision but there’s also the fact that the ID could potentially already lose a seat to the DA in a by election after an ID councillor resigned.
Now if the ID sticks to this decision it does make the chance of the ANC getting the position of mayor back pretty slim. Even if the ANC could get the AMP and the minor parties on it’s side it would have 90 votes while the DA and ACDP (who I don’t think will ever leave the coalition) will have 97. I’m not sure if the mayoral vote requires an outright majority (+51%) for a decision but if not then the DA can breathe a bit easier.
Update: According to the comments, Sheval Arendse, who was the ID councillor who resigned, will be running for vacant seat as a DA candidate.
Let’s just say you’re the current Cape Town city manager and you’re involved in a nasty fight to keep your job with the new administration. What’s the best way to remove that administration, hand control over to the ANC and therebby keep your job? Why with a badly forged letter of course.
Now I’m not saying that Mgoqi forged that letter but he was a bit hasty in forwarding it to the IEC wasn’t he? It does indicate that he’s not exactly willing to work with the DA led coalition government, especially considering his past comments on his desire to work things out amicably with the DA.
Personally I just think Mayor Zille should pay out Mgoqi’s contract. I understand that she is taking a stand on principle here but the noise this whole thing is generating is not beneficial for her or local government.
Every politician needs a sidekick, an attack pitbull they can call on to do the nasty work should they want to keep their hands realtively clean. For every Dubya there’s a Karl Rove (or is it the other way round?). For every Mbeki there’s an Essop Pahad . For every Zuma there’s the entire ANC Youth League (who were previously Brett Kebble’s little helpers).
Helen Zille, despite being characterised by many as a Rambo-like solitary asskicker who will single handedly turn Cape Town around, also seems to have one. In the comments section of a previous post DA insider DA Mal told us to be on the lookout for Ian Neilson, who is the executive committee member in charge of the city’s finances.
And seeing as the city’s budget is what Wallace Mgoqi loved spending Ian has come out with both barrel’s blazing showing Mgoqi’s penchant for hiring consultants at exorbitant rates. No doubt this will be just the first salvo in a campaign to make Wallace Mgoqi look like an inompetent (which really shouldn’t be hard).
Helen Zille certainly can predict things. Two days ageo she claimed that the ANC/ID would use the current city manager spat to make the city ungovernable and ask for provincial government to step in and lo and behold they do exactly that.
In a previous post I said they should rather try and sideline Mgoqi but DA Mal has shown that this is not really possible. So in short Zille should suck it up, hold her nose and pay Mgoqi’s exit clause. The DA needs to get down to some serious service delivery and they can’t afford to be bogged down in petty party fighting. There’s a taxi war raising it’s ugly head again (and let’s not forget those rat tailed maggots) that needs seeing to.