A war of words has erupted between the Mayor of Cape Town Geordin Hill-Lewis and President Cyril Ramaphosa, with the Presidency saying it does not respond to threats.

The fight is over control of Metrorail.

The mayor gave the President a deadline.

Hill-Lewis says Ramaphosa must convene a joint working committee on the issue, by the 31st of August 2023 – or the City will initiate intergovernmental dispute mediation.

According to News24, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya says they only deal with situations in a constructive manner.

He says Hill-Lewis can exercise his right as he pleases and they will respond through processes in place.

National government has given contradictory statements on allowing municipalities to control rail services.

In June, the Transport Department’s Director-General told an international conference that a plan will be gazetted this year.

However, in May Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga announced that there are no plans to devolve the rail infrastructure to the City.

And before that – her predecessor, Fikile Mbalula insisted the department had no mandate from government to begin the process.