The Cape High Court has chosen to uphold Wallace Mgoqi’s suspension, saying in no certain terms that his eleventh-hour contract extension by Nomaindia Mfeketo was illegal. This is good news: a sound defeat for the ANC’s tactic of using ANC bureaucrats to disrupt and undermine elected administrations they don’t like. But the “Mgoqi problem”, ultimately, was just a sympton of something greater: the ANC’s troubling habit of deploying party cadres to senior bureaucratic posts, who then treat the ANC as their primary object of loyalty, rather than the state or the constitution. This is the exact same problem that allowed the NIA to become an active participant in the Mbeki-succession war: the senior staff of the intelligence agency had become so stuffed with party cadres that it became almost a branch of the ANC, rather than a branch of the South African state. If Mgoqi had been capable of implenting DA policy rather than undermining it, there wouldn’t have been a problem. Unfortunately, too many of these cadres seem to have difficulty understanding that “party” and “state” are different things.
In a bizarre twist, the ANC and the ID have now floated the idea that the High Court decision invalidates Helen Zille’s election as mayor:
The Independent Democrats’ caucus leader in the city, Simon Grindrod, said in reaction to the ruling that the DA might now have to accept the first meeting of the newly-elected council, over which Mgoqi presided, was also unlawful. “They cannot have it both ways,” Grindrod said. “As the city manager was occupying his position illegally, it may be the case that the election of the mayor and Speaker must now be declared invalid.”
Isn’t that clever. I suppose the DA will just have to give up and hold a new election under a new city manager… wait, that won’t work either. You see Simon, you can’t have it both ways: if the city manager was occupying his position illegally, that means Helen Zille was never really mayor, which means that any city manager she appoints to replace Mgoqi will also be occupying the position illegally, which means that any subsequent election, even one that returns the ANC to power, will also be illegal. Have fun working that one out in your spare time.
UPDATE: Sorry, forgot to add a link for that Simon Grindrod quote. Now fixed.