/ 23 August 2022

Tshwane coalition to DA: Remove Williams or we will abstain in no-confidence vote

Actionsa Manifesto Launch In South Africa
Action SA supporters in the Western Cape have expressed reservations about its pre-election coalition agreement with the Democratic Alliance. (Photo by Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

A last ditch effort on Tuesday to force the Democratic Alliance (DA) to turn its back on its Tshwane mayor, Randall Williams, will be the biggest test yet to the metro’s coalition agreement.  

The DA will meet its coalition partners — ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party, Cope and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) — before 2pm on Tuesday to discuss Williams’ future in the metro. 

This comes as the ANC has indicated that it will submit a motion of no confidence in Williams, which is expected to be debated by the council on Thursday. 

Williams has become a target of political parties after his bid to have the council pass a motion for a forensic report into an unsolicited bid from a company that offered to refurbish and maintain two power stations in Tshwane for R26-billion, which would bind the city to a 30-year contract with the bidder. 

The proposal was for Kratos Energy to refurbish two power stations that have not been operating since 2014 and turn them into gas energy supply networks. Williams argued that this would help generate 800 megawatts of electricity to help ease the effects of load-shedding.

ActionSA did not agree with the report and objected to it being adopted and forwarded for public comment. 

(Twitter/ @CityofTshwane)

ActionSA Gauteng provincial chairperson Bongani Baloyi labelled the proposal “illegal” and a representation of the bad governance that “multi-party coalitions sought to displace when taking office”.

Insiders with knowledge of the situation said that should Tuesday’s meeting fail to reach an agreement, the DA’s coalition partners will be forced to act. 

Although smaller parties aligned to the DA are unlikely to vote with the ANC should the motion go to a vote, coalition insiders have indicated that they will abstain from voting, a move that will be considered a no confidence vote in Williams and the party by its allies. 

The EFF has not yet decided whether it will add its vote to the removal of Williams. The party opened a case against Williams for his influence in the pending contract. It has attributed a collapse in service delivery in Tshwane to what it says is his misconduct and has called for his immediate resignation.

ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont said the party will communicate to its coalition partners that it can no longer work with Williams. ActionSA has maintained that although it wants to see the back of Williams, the coalition must remain intact. 

IFP Gauteng provincial chairperson Bonginkosi Dhlamini said the party will call for the DA to place Williams under investigation, and added that the party will not support a mayor who is compromised. 

“We can’t take that decision in the face of allegations. This must be taken seriously. If the ANC wants to be opportunistic and put a vote of no confidence with that because of this concern, we will then abandon our historic mission. Whether the ANC puts a motion of confidence … the IFP has an obligation to the people of Tshwane.” 

He said the IFP would not rush to call for Williams’ head until the matter was investigated. 

Dhlamini said he was not happy with the DA’s position, adding that he did not appreciate the media briefings held by its Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga, and Williams last week. 

“You can’t be accused and have a press conference to say ‘I’m not guilty’ and others are saying you are guilty. That is PR. Our citizens are not interested in that. Our citizens are interested in knowing whether or not there was corruption. If there was, the guy must be shown the door,” Dhlamini said. 

Gauteng MEC for cooperative governance and human settlement Lebogang Maile said he would write to Williams seeking answers to the allegations levelled against him. 

DA spokesperson Cilliers Brink has said that despite more or less accusing Randall Williams of corruption, ActionSA’s national leadership was yet to produce a shred of evidence. He added that the coalition partners repeated a number of falsehoods about the report, claiming it was a R26-billion tender. 

“It was not a tender, and the R26-billion was the potential value of the private investment, not any capital outlay by the city. They rely on people not checking the facts. ActionSA not only voted against a policy measure supported by all the other coalition partners, they have joined the ANC and EFF in publicly attacking the integrity of the same government in which they continue to serve. It is ActionSA that needs to account for their behaviour, especially on the issue of why they did not want the investment proposal to proceed to the stage of public participation. If the proposal was improper in any way, surely this would’ve uncovered that fact?” Brink said.