West Rand merger: Gauteng Legislature Speaker protects MEC from DA oversight

By Ina Cilliers MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Merafong:

The Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature, Ntombi Mekgwe yesterday denied an urgent DA question to cooperative governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo over the collective financials of the proposed West Rand metropolitan municipality.

The DA submitted an urgent question for oral reply in accordance with the Legislature’s Standing Rules of Order, only to have Speaker Mekgwe deny it for reasons we believe were to protect MEC Mamabolo.

In the question, the DA enquired, among others, about what the collective debt burden of the proposed metro would be, as well as what its projected income levels would be.

Click here to view the question.

The Speaker’s refusal was based on the fact that the Standing Rules do not allow questions of a statistical nature to be tabled for oral reply, and that the MEC did not have sufficient time to collate the necessary data.

The DA believes that the Speaker has misinterpreted the rule in question, and that the denial was intended to protect the MEC from parliamentary oversight.

The fact is that the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) on 15 May called for public submissions over the proposed metro after being requested to do so by Cooperative governance minister Pravin Gordhan – who made the request after consulting with the MEC.

It therefore stands to good reason that the MEC should have the facts on hand as these would be necessary to discuss the proposal with Minister Gordhan, and to make government’s own submission to the MDB before the 21-day deadline of 5 June.

While the DA is in the process of preparing its own submission to the MDB, this, and other events are making it increasingly clear that the ANC will stop at nothing to gerrymander municipalities in an attempt to cling to power.

To this end, the DA has referred the matter to the Legislature’s Rules Committee requesting it make a ruling on the Speaker’s decision.

The DA will continue to oppose the ANC’s tactics to force this merger onto residents of the West Rand.