City of Johannesburg council to continue work without Speaker

The City of Johannesburg says the work of its council will continue without the Speaker.

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Vasco Da Gama was removed as Speaker following a motion of no confidence vote on Thursday.

The motion was tabled by the PAC and supported by the ANC and the EFF.

The Johannesburg Mayor’s office says the council does not have a Deputy Speaker and therefore the secretary of council will be charged with the functions and operations of the City’s legislature.

Mayoral spokesperson Mabine Seabe, “At the next sitting of Council or as soon as it’s reasonably possible, a Speaker of Council will be elected. It must be noted that the intention of our political opponents to table a motion of no confidence in the Executive Mayor at the next Council sitting is but an attempt to gain access to funds meant for the delivery of services. It also comes as a response to the announcement by the MMC for Group Corporates Services, Cllr Leah Knott, that lifestyle audits will be conducted on all councillors and senior managers.”

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State of coalition governments

Coalition governments are once again proving to be unstable and it appears no one is guaranteed to finish a term of office. Johannesburg Metro Municipality Speaker Vasco Da Gama was booted out this week and in the Knysna District Municipality, the Democratic Alliance (DA) was also voted out.

Johannesburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse’s future now hangs in the balance as the coalition government is showing cracks. Ekhuruleni Municipality is also at risk with the realignment of the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) voting together.

“The ANC has now approached us in Gauteng, they want to have a discussion about municipalities and we welcome such engagements. ANC Gauteng and KZN have approached us, the new leadership in Gauteng came and KZN came but rest assured any move we make will be for the betterment of the people,” says EFF leader Julius Malema.

These words by Malema have somewhat changed the political game in the metros.

The ANC and the EFF have since voted together in the eThekwini Metro and again in the Johannesburg Metro Council with the removal of the DA Speaker.

The ANC wants to go further and dismantle the DA’s coalition in Johannesburg.

“Certainly, there was a coalition agreement in place in Johannesburg. The motion of no confidence in the Speaker was expected and we expected that all coalition partners that form part, IFP, ACDP and COPE would vote against the motion but two ACDP, one IFP and a COPE councillor supported the motion of no-confidence and which was a breach in the coalition. Coalitions are a means to an end but not an ideal condition,” says the DA’s Cilliers Brink.

ANC Gauteng spokesperson Lesego Makhubela says it was bound to happen that all predominantly Black parties will vote together.

“We all came together because we saw that there is trouble for the people we represent. We will move and…taken by all these parties in the Johannesburg council to remove the DA,” says Makhubela.

In Ekhuruleni, the Independent Citizens Movement councillor Joe Mojapelo has joined forces with the ANC and EFF. The party’s members are up in arms.

“We want Mr Mojapelo to leave because he is taking decisions on his own and not consulting anyone. He has gone against the party’s mandate. We have thus taken a decision to remove him as a member of council,” an ICM NEC member says.

The DA looks set to try and defend Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni Municipalities but this could all be in vain if the EFF end up voting with the ANC.

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