News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
27 Nov 2018
6:15 am

Court hears of ‘racial divide, shadow caucus’ in ‘toxic’ Tshwane DA

Ilse de Lange

The ANC in Tshwane applied for a motion of no confidence in mayor Solly Msimanga to take place through a secret ballot, among others.

City of Tswane Mayor Solly Msimanga walks the streets of Pretoria ahead of a no confidence motion, 30 August 2018. Picture: Cebisile Mbonani

There was such a toxic environment and racial division within the Democratic Alliance in Tshwane that the speaker’s decision not to allow a secret ballot in the ANC’s vote of no confidence in executive mayor Solly Msimanga was irrational, the ANC has argued.

The ANC in Tshwane applied for the High Court in Pretoria to set aside September’s council sitting at which its motion aimed at removing Msimanga was defeated after speaker Katlego Mathebe ruled that voting must take place by a show of hands.

They also want the court to allow for a motion of no confidence in Msimanga to take place by means of a secret ballot.

Counsel for the ANC, Aslam Bava SC, argued that a bid by the ANC to expose corruption in the awarding of a R12 billion tender to engineering company GladAfrica to provide the city with project management support was at the heart of the case.

Then, when Msimanga sought to summarily dismiss city manager Moeketsi Masola, the ANC objected and stopped the process.

Masola submitted a report in which he described the deep racial divide between black and white members of the DA in Tshwane, complained about being assaulted by councillor Cilliers Brink and revealed the DA had a “shadow caucus” so that every black councillor sitting had a shadow white counterpart.

Bava said Masola’s report revealed there were people within the DA who were afraid to voice their opinions, which was why they wanted a secret ballot.

He argued that if DA members were afraid of losing their jobs and Msimanga remained in office, there would be an inability to investigate corruption.

Bava said the speaker had ignored council rules by allowing the meeting to start 40 minutes late. The rules state meetings should be deemed postponed if they failed to start within 20 minutes of the announced time.

The speaker and DA defended the decision to go ahead with the meeting and an open vote, arguing the application was not urgent and the ANC could introduce another motion of no confidence, while Msimanga has described the application as baseless and a desperate attempt to use the courts to usurp the processes of the council.

The application continues.

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