News / South Africa / Politics

Rorisang Kgosana
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
30 Jan 2020
1:28 pm

Chaos as EFF and ANC walk out in Tshwane council as DA clings on

Rorisang Kgosana

The DA's mayor and speaker were ousted in a no-confidence motion at the start of December, which was overturned by the courts, leaving the administration in disarray since.

EFF and ANC councillors can be seen walking out of the Tshwane council meeting, collapsing Council, 16 January 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Despite the ANC and EFF together having a majority in council, and both wanting the DA mayor and speaker to be ousted, the DA has continued to stay in charge in the capital with chaos the prevailing theme every time the councillors sit.

Early on Thursday afternoon, both opposition parties again staged a walkout in protest at how the DA has been preventing further progress in allowing motions of no confidence against the speaker and mayor.

Earlier this week, Gauteng MEC for human settlements, urban planning and CoGTA Lebogang Maile had to backtrack on his suspension of speaker Katlego Mathebe. He had earlier been confident of his decision but admitted that legal advice forced him to change tack.

Mathebe was placed on suspension by Maile because he believed she may have brought council into disrepute.

On Thursday morning Tshwane ANC chief whip Aaron Maluleka kicked off proceedings by asking for mayor Stevens Mokgalapa to be investigated, claiming he was earning a salary in his absence without being sick.

Mokgalapa took special leave in November and attended the DA’s federal executive meeting over the weekend where he was advised he would be hauled before a disciplinary hearing over remarks he made in an audio recording that involved former MMC for roads and transport Sheila Senkubuge.

The DA found no conclusive proof that Mokgalapa and Senkubuge had had sex in the office, but found Mokgalapa had breached the party’s constitution by discussing party politics. In the recording, the pair were heard discussing party officials, including Mathebe.

The ANC have posed questions around Mokgalapa’s absence, arguing he was reaping the benefits of being mayor as well as a salary while being “AWOL” (absent without official leave).

The party is of the view that interim mayor Abel Tau is an illegitimate mayor as he was not appointed by council via the proper channels.

Mokgalapa is expected to return to work in February, after he took leave to allow investigations into the alleged “sex scandal” to be concluded.

Proceedings were nevertheless interrupted on Thursday morning by Mathebe asking the public and media to leave the council meeting after members of the public started singing. They then barged into the media gallery.

Maluleka then told the speaker: “I have lost respect to be represented by you. I have lost confidence in you, speaker.”

The ANC and EFF asked for a vote to retract a resolution that appointed deputy speaker Zweli Khumalo based on Section 14 of the Rules and Orders. Mathebe dismissed the request, saying it was not allowed according to the Municipal Systems Act.

Maluleka threatened to take legal action against Mathebe’s ruling and thereafter left the council.

The DA said in a statement shortly afterwards that they had been left feeling “frustrated, angered and disappointed by the chaos that erupted in the Tshwane Council today which prevented council from conducting its business of approving all mayoral committee reports to serve the residents of the City of Tshwane”.

DA Gauteng leader John Moodey called the EFF and ANC councillors “unruly”.

“It is ultimately the residents of Tshwane that will suffer because these disruptions are aimed at stopping service delivery, at the expense of the residents,” added Moodey.

“The DA will now focus its efforts on ensuring that service delivery continues to run smoothly in the City of Tshwane. And for that reason, we need Council to run smoothly sooner rather than later.

“We want to assure the people of Tshwane that the DA will continue to work tirelessly to bring various political parties together with a goal of approving all reports to ensure service delivery to the residents of Tshwane who are our first priority.

“We understand that different parties hold different views, but it is of utmost importance to put those views aside and work together to ensure the service delivery the people deserve.”

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