ActionSA Will Vote Against Mayor’s Unlawful Report in Council

ActionSA’s Senate met last night, following engagements with our caucus in the City of Tshwane, and has resolved that we will vote against a report brought by the Executive Mayor of Tshwane on the grounds that it is manifestly unlawful and in breach of the prescripts of a signed multiparty coalition agreement.

ActionSA has vociferously voiced its concerns with this proposal which has also been flagged by us and Provincial Treasury. As such, we will vote against this report at this morning’s sitting of Council.

The report is a request for public consultation to be conducted on an unsolicited bid to the amount of R26 billion from an energy service provider to obtain a concession to refurbish, finance, operate and maintain both the Pretoria West and Rooiwal Power Stations.

Our principal concern is that this proposal is illegal and represents the kind of bad governance that multi-party coalitions sought to displace when taking office. ActionSA’s concerns with this item include that:

  1. The proposal is presented as an unsolicited bid yet there is no indication on which of the 4 legal requirements this unsolicited bid meets in terms of Section 113(2) of the MFMA.
  1. ActionSA is aware of written concerns raised by Provincial and National Treasury citing specific concerns about the proposal.
  1. The process has been driven with inappropriate levels of involvement of the political office of the Executive Mayor – this is highly irregular in terms of municipal legislation.
  1. It is unclear if the service provider has a NERSA-approved license to produce electricity as it appears that the proposal assumes that the City’s license will be used. ActionSA believes that no engagements have been had with NERSA or ESKOM in this respect.
  1. Jointly (City of Tshwane and service provider) branded reports and presentations by the service provider to Councillors giving the appearance of the matter being a foregone conclusion.

In terms of the signed multi-party coalition agreement, ActionSA lodged a dispute against the item on 26 July 2022 because of concerns that the unsolicited bid is in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). The signed coalition agreement necessitates that an item under dispute must be removed from the council agenda and subject to a dispute resolution mechanism. The persistence of the Mayor of Tshwane to call a special meeting to table this item is therefore a serious breach of the signed coalition agreement and reiterates the irrationality with which this proposal has been politically driven.

ActionSA wrote to the multi-party coalition requiring written confirmation that the item would be removed from the council agenda by 17:00, yesterday, 15 August 2022. Despite the gravity of the situation, no response was received from the DA.

ActionSA is unapologetic to vote down this item in Council today because we are not in coalition to serve Mayors, political parties or service providers. We sought solutions within the coalition arrangement, but the DA made this impossible.

Multi-party coalitions must serve the residents of the City of Tshwane and ActionSA will do whatever is necessary to ensure this commitment is honoured.

It has been brought to ActionSA’s attention that Mayor Williams has held sessions with the ANC and EFF in a bid to solicit their support for this item in Council. This was done despite the DA collapsing coalition talks in KwaDukuza over their insistence on a clause prohibiting the solicitation of support from any party outside of the coalition arrangement in order to secure a council decision.

If Mayor Williams proceeds with the report to Council, and if it is approved with the support of the ANC or EFF, ActionSA will proceed to lodge complaints with the Office of the Public Protector, National Treasury, the Hawks and the SIU.

ActionSA calls upon other coalition partners to withdraw their support for this item and stand with the residents of Tshwane in defence of good governance.