ANC disrupts public consultation process for Provincial Powers Bill

This follows an official press statement from the tripartite alliance (ANC, SACP, COSATU) promising to make the province ungovernable





Jan 31, 2024

ANC disrupts public consultation process for Provincial Powers Bill

Public hearings on the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill in the Western Cape Legislature have been marred by disruptions and threats from the tripartite alliance (ANC, SACP, COSATU).

This follows a joint press release by ANC, SACP, COSATU and SANCO:

"We maintain that the Bill is a farce and the public hearings a ruse. The DA is forcing public hearings despite three legal opinions from advocates appointed by the DA in the Legislature"

"As the alliance, if this Bill is not legally stopped, we will once again be called upon to render the DA Capexit nexus in the Western Cape ungovernable to prevent the reincarnation of the modern-day apartheid system."

The bill, introduced in mid-2023 by DA member Christopher Fry, seeks to delegate additional powers to the province. Opposition parties criticize it as an attempt to undermine constitutional principles.

Public hearings, which commenced on January 29, have become contentious. During the Worcester hearing, DA's Isaac Sileku claimed that ANC supporters disrupted proceedings through harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence. The ANC, while acknowledging mobilization against the bill, denies allegations of disruption and asserts that its members peacefully voiced opposition.

However, according to witnesses in the room, while the ANC were in the minority in the hall, it didn’t stop them from disrupting affairs. After the meeting was called to order, and attendants were asked to sit, the ANC members refused, and set about chanting and making it impossible for proceedings to continue.

Rather than escort them out, police stood idly outside, and eventually Ivan Meyer was forced to bring the event to a close.

On X (twitter), Cameron Dugmore, leader of the ANC in the Western Cape, claimed the reason for the disruption was a lack of seating, but Robert King of the Referendum Party, who was present at the event, accused him of making excuses, pointing out that there was a surfeit of available seating.

Dugmore also denied the ANC intended to do anything like making the province ungovernable, despite the official press release from his organisation.

The proposed legislation aims to rectify the perceived failures of the national government by asserting the Western Cape's provincial and local powers. Key areas for potential delegation include policing, public transport, energy, trade, and harbours. Fry contends that the bill is necessary due to the national government's inability to act in the best interests of Western Cape residents.

The bill faced opposition during formal deliberations in June, prompting the establishment of an ad hoc committee dominated by the DA. The ANC and members like Peter Marais expressed concerns about the bill's legality and proposed seeking legal opinion before initiating public hearings.

The ANC, mobilizing its alliance partners, has voiced strong opposition to the bill, deeming it an attempt to undermine constitutional principles. The Good party also joined the opposition, describing the bill as an "embarrassing document purporting to be serious legislation."

Despite objections, the DA-led committee voted in favour of a public participation process, leading to ongoing hearings until February 2. As political tensions heighten, clashes between the DA and ANC underscore the bill's significance in the lead-up to this year's elections.

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