Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
3 Feb 2020
6:02 am

Heads roll as ANC takes over Joburg

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The DA’s caucus leader in the council, Funzela Ngobeni, says the party’s highest body will decide whether to legally challenge the election of ANC councillor Nonceba Molwele as speaker.

Speaker of Joburg council Vasco da Gama after the vote for Joburg Mayor was postponed. Picture: Michel Bega

The City of Joburg’s new ANC-led administration has got off to a chaotic start with political battles and staff issues taking centre stage.

As the opposition squares up for a legal battle to have former speaker Vasco da Gama’s unseating deemed illegal, unions are fighting for more than 200 fired emergency workers.

The former DA-led administration has been accused by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) of mishandling the disciplinary process of the workers, who were dismissed in December. The union is appealing the decision on behalf of the 202 firefighters who were accused of embarking on an illegal strike.

While the industrial action was led by another union, the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of SA, Samwu is spearheading the fight to appeal the axing on the grounds that due process was not followed by Emergency Management Services (EMS).

“We are at a stage where all arguments in the appeal have been advanced and the entire process was done unlawfully,” said Karabo Ramahuba, a cluster secretary for Samwu dealing with the case. The firefighters’ axing emerged days before Geoff Makhubo was elected as mayor.

The DA’s caucus leader in the council, Funzela Ngobeni, said the party’s highest body would decide whether to legally challenge the election of ANC councillor Nonceba Molwele as speaker.

Da Gama was ousted in a vote of no confidence, a week after Makhubo took office. But the DA maintained the motion against Da Gama did not pass.

Ngobeni insisted that the meeting which followed, in which Molwele was voted in as the new speaker, was unlawful.

‘That is still in the hands of our federal council chair, we still have not received finality on that,” said Ngobeni. “We will probably have an idea tomorrow.”

In the meantime, the issue remains in limbo.

“For us, it is not just about going to court, we are also using our internal intelligence to challenge the illegitimacy of what has been happening in the speaker’s office,” said Ngobeni.

Last week, all but one of the DA’s councillors staged a walkout, refusing to recognise Molwele as speaker. DA councillor Anthony Still will now face disciplinary action for his decision to remain seated.

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