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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Tshwane faces administration after ANC, EFF block budget vote

Yesterday was the second successive day since Thursday that the adjusted budget could not be passed.

The ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) alliance’s wish was granted as City of Tshwane council failed to pass the adjustment budget once more with a tight single vote against – putting the metro on the brink of being placed under administration once again.

The governing coalition led by the Democratic Alliance (DA) managed to garner 107 votes for the budget, a single vote below the stipulated 50% plus one majority required to pass the budget.

This was an outcome that the opposition alliance led by the ANC and the EFF celebrated in their attempt to squeeze the DA-led administration out of power.

Opposition pushing for administration

Yesterday was the second successive day since Thursday that the adjusted budget could not be passed after parties spent a lot of time in their respective caucuses on Thursday, with little time given to deal with the main budget matter by the council speaker. The budget was tabled by mayor Cilliers Brink.

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Yesterday’s failure to get the budget through could see Tshwane placed under Section 139 of the constitution which provided for the appointment of an interim administrator to run the affairs of the municipality.

This was a situation that the opposition alliance was pushing for as part of their efforts to frustrate the governing coalition. With two previous extensions granted, the national and provincial government gave Tshwane until yesterday to pass the budget.

Brink vs ANC and EFF on budget vote

Now, it’s likely that the Section 139 intervention could kick in, a situation that Brink has opposed. Brink, whose plea for all parties to support the passing of budget fell on deaf ears yesterday, accused the ANC and the EFF of deliberately attempting to prevent the passing of the budget and tabling of next financial year’s draft budget so that Section 139 intervention would be applied in Tshwane.

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But he vowed that the DA would challenge the matter in court once more. He said the placement of the metro under administration would be disastrous for service delivery and financial management of the city.

Should the intervention happen, it would be a repeat of 2020, when the city was placed under Section 139 by then MEC for cooperative governance Lebogang Maile. But the DA successfully challenged the decision at the Constitutional Court, which declared the action unlawful.

Nevertheless, it was supposed to make adjustments to its R44 billion budget for its 2022-23 financial year, passed in May 2022. The budget adjustments would include accommodation of expenditure and revenue collection since it was passed and Tshwane’s financial recovery revenue collection plan.

The metro was also expected to announce its budget for the 2023-24 financial year to be implemented from 1 July, which also could go through infighting among the political parties that are squabbling over the control of the capital city.

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Tshwane had experienced ongoing power squabbles between two political blocs – one led by the DA and the other by the ANC since the 2016 local government election. It also had numerous financial issues, including instances of corruption in recent years.