Cape Town Mayor and Leader of the DA, Helen “Two Hats” Zille has been nominated as the DA’s candidate for the Premier of the Western Cape in the forthcoming election.
Speaking with sycophantic radio presenter John Maytham yesterday evening, Zille described the move as being “strategic” and expressed her wish for the DA to work “from the ground up” to “set an example of how good governance can work”.
She said if it could run both Cape Town and the Western Cape, voters across South Africa would realise that service delivery is better in regions where the DA is in power.
“It is a project of national significance. We want to run the city and the province in co-operative governance and demonstrate what it possible under those circumstances,” she said, adding that as mayor she was frustrated by stone-walling on the part of the ANC powers in the province.
This struggle between the ANC controlled Provincial Government and the DA controlled City of Cape Town Municipality has long been cited as the reason for delays in service delivery – most especially housing – and for the objective bystander (that’s me) acts as a shining example of all that is wrong with politics. That is, while the individuals elected to serve the people bicker and attempt to score cheap political points from one another, nothing actually gets done on the ground.
This lack of service delivery is obviously because of the Province, according to the DA and obviously because of the City, according to the ANC. It’s playground politics at its very worst.
Zille’s record as Mayor of Cape Town is undoubtedly impressive. However one must remember that the DA remains a political party and be mindful of spin when looking at her claims of success, which she rolled out one after another in yesterday’s M&G article “The DA Saved Cape Town“.
And even if her numbers stand up to scrutiny (and I have neither the time nor the inclination to scrutinise Helen Zille’s vital statistics) then there is still a lot of work to be done by the DA to overturn the ANC’s Provincial rule. More likely, as Linda Ensorstates in today’s Business Day is the DA holding no overall majority and looking to form a coalition with the ID or Cope: something Zille described as “always complex”.
Whether a coalition (such as the one which the DA have used to run Cape Town for the past three years) represents true democracy is open to debate. But it will be interesting to see how many of those barriers to service delivery are removed should the DA control Province and City. And how many more are “discovered” between Province and National Government. Cynics might suggest that the problem will merely be moved upward and onto a larger scale – something that would hinder service delivery to even greater numbers of needy citizens.