Voelvlei Dam during a severe drought in the Western Cape. Picture: ASHRAF HENDRICKS, GROUNDUP
Voelvlei Dam during a severe drought in the Western Cape. Picture: ASHRAF HENDRICKS, GROUNDUP

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille says the DA’s decision not to support her administration’s proposed "drought charge" has caused confusion.

Late in 2017‚ De Lille’s government tabled a proposal in council for a levy on rates bills based on property prices.

The proposal‚ which was supported by the DA caucus‚ is subject to a public participation process until Monday and it will have to be approved by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

But on Wednesday‚ the DA Cape Metro executive changed its tune. In a statement‚ chairperson Grant Twigg said the caucus had been instructed to vote against the levy.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Thursday during a visit to a Cape Flats aquifer drilling site in Mitchells Plain‚ De Lille said Twigg’s executive had not consulted the DA caucus before taking its decision.

"There is confusion there because the caucus of the DA had already taken a decision to support the drought charge. From the DA caucus it went to council‚ where everybody in the DA caucus voted for that‚" she said.

"So the confusion really is‚ ‘how can you now go back and vote against your own decision?’

"Obviously the caucus can always go back and review‚ but as you have seen yesterday‚ that is not the official position of the full caucus. Because the full caucus was never consulted."

The latest developments are a sign of the division within the DA in Cape Town‚ where individuals aligned to De Lille lost power at a regional congress in 2017.

De Lille’s future as mayor also hangs in the balance‚ with the DA national leadership due to decide on Sunday whether to keep her in the job.

A council meeting on January 31 is due to decide on the drought charge‚ which is intended to cover a R1.4bn deficit in the city’s budget.

The levy is meant to be in place for four years and will affect 464‚000 households.

De Lille said the council was receiving lower revenue because Capetonians were using less water due to restrictions.

Asked what her administration would do if the drought charge were rejected‚ De Lille said: "We will have to then cut from other budgets from the city."

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