The recent collapse of council meetings in the City of Joburg should not be taken lightly as they have a knock-on effect in creating delays on service delivery within the City. This is according to Dr Ivor Sarakinsky of the Wits School of Governance, who was commenting on recent developments in the City Council, which among others include the walkouts from ANC councillors and boycott by EFF ones.
“When a council meeting collapses, it means that very important policy decisions can’t be taken,” Sarakinsky said. He further went on to explain that what is seen in that council is exactly what most commentators, including himself, predicted on coalition-led governments. “Coalition-led governments are unstable because political parties have different agendas.”
On the ANC walkouts from council meetings, Sarakisky analysed that this is a move by the ANC to indirectly want to govern the City of Joburg. He pointed out that the ANC goes out of its way to obstruct council from adopting budgets and functioning well because they want the City to be put under administration, meaning that the provincial government (which is ANC led) will take-over and run the City.
With the EFF not committing to attend future council sittings, Sarakinsky said this was a great concern as it created uncertainty in the functioning of council processes. He also commented that the EFF was a small party with enormous power. He explained that their absence from council meetings had to do with the national breakdown of relations between the EFF and DA, following the removal of the deputy mayor at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
“They were trying to punish the DA by abstaining at all coalition-led municipalities but that has not been effective.” Sarakinsky said the EFF councillors dragged themselves back to council with tails between their legs in order to support the DA’s agenda and also rescue Mayor Herman Mashaba, after seeing how the ANC members collapsed council.
Sarakinsky also pointed out that what is happening in council cannot be resolved easily because no party has a clear majority. He also mentioned that strategy and political party interests were dominating council.
Sarakinsky also said the office of the speaker should punish EFF and ANC councillors by deducting their salaries for days that they failed to attend council sittings. “They are public officials voted for by residents, and attending council sittings is part of their job. Unless there is a good reason for not being in council meetings, I think deductions must be made from their salaries,” he concluded.
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