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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

ANC slams DA for holding virtual public hearings on Provincial Powers Bill

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The African National Congress (ANC) has slammed the Western Cape provincial legislature, led by the Democratic Alliance (DA), for holding virtual public hearings on the contentious Provincial Powers Bill on Friday.

The legislature announced that the public hearings on the bill will be held virtually because it could not find a suitable venue in Cape Town.

But this was disputed by the ANC, which accused the DA of trying to ram through the bill in the provincial legislature.

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said on Friday the decision of the DA-led provincial legislature to hold virtual public hearings was to keep away many people who have no access to the internet.

“At the heart of this issue lies the exclusion of the public from the decision-making process. By opting for a virtual format, the DA effectively bars those without internet access from voicing their concerns and opinions. This exclusion disproportionately affects marginalised communities, where access to technology is scarce. In Cape Town, where socio-economic disparities run deep, this decision strikes a blow to the very essence of democracy – the right of every citizen to have a say in matters that affect their lives,” said Bhengu-Motsiri.

“The timing of this move raises suspicions. With the bill nearing its final stages, the DA’s sudden pivot to a virtual hearing smacks of a calculated strategy to expedite its passage. By eliminating the need for physical venues and the logistical challenges they entail, the DA streamlines the process, potentially sidestepping thorough public scrutiny and debate. This raises serious questions about the party’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”

The ANC has been opposed to the bill and said it was unconstitutional.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said last month during the debate on the State of the Nation Address, that they were willing to go all the way to the Constitutional Court to ensure the bill was passed.

The DA has for years been calling for the devolution of policing powers.

Winde raised this issue in the Sona debate and the State of the Province Address in Paarl last week.

But Police Minister Bheki Cele said there was a single police service in the country.

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