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By Stephen Tau


Joburg mayoral drama: Is it a strategy to keep Action SA out of the spotlight or to set ANC up for spectacular failure?

The recent weeks have been marred with drama in the City of Johannesburg.

The recent weeks have been marred with drama in the City of Johannesburg.

This all started with the ousting of former Speaker Vasco Da Gama.

Barely hours after Da Gama’s ousting, it was already written on the wall that now former Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse’s future was also hanging in the balance.

ALSO READ: Vasco Da Gama booted out of power in no confidence vote

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has since last year’s local government elections been leading the City through a coalition arrangement.

Upon being elected the new Speaker this week, Congress of the People’s (Cope) Colleen Makhubele called for a special sitting on Friday to deliberate on a motion of no confidence against her.

Phalatse described her ousting as ‘unlawful’.


Was the coalition collapse deliberate?

According to political analyst, Prof. Dirk Kotze said it does not look like it’s simply a collapse of a coalition that did not work, saying it was something quite deliberate that happened, which raises a lot of questions.

Kotze said the aspect which is difficult to understand from a DA’s perspective is the fact that they were very well aware that it would be in everyone’s interest if they accept a candidate from one of the other coalition partners to be the candidate for Speaker but it came down to a candidate from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

“Why this is not unusual is the fact that in Tshwane the coalition without this type of problem, internally changed the position of Speaker from a DA person to a Cope person and therefore the Tshwane coalition working relatively well.

“They could have rescued the situation I would say quite easily by just labelling a different candidate from a different party and the outcome might have been different, so it looks almost as if this situation was intentionally created and if that’s the case, then we need to know what is the hidden agenda of whether the DA wants itself to get out of government or whether it wants some of its coalition partners to get out of government like Action SA or whether it wants to set the ANC up for a very messy and unsuccessful coalition,” Kotze added.

Another political analyst Levy Ndou is of the view that the DA is unable to manage coalitions, saying if anyone is to blame for Johannesburg’s coalition collapse, then the DA must shoulder the blame.

“The DA has just removed a mayor in Nelson Mandela Bay, so this is the game that they always try their best to remove those who are in power and the DA might cry foul but they just tasted their own medicine.

ALSO READ: Phalatse’s fight for survival – ‘I will not be resigning’

“However we also can’t blame the DA only and we must also look at others who when they say the DA is arrogant, yes it might be true and it might also not be true…maybe they are also making unrealistic demands to the DA,” said Ndou.

On Phalatse, Ndou said she knew her days were numbered as the removal of Da Gama as Speaker became a good testing ground for coalition strengths.

What needs to happen to strengthen coalition arrangements?

“What is needed is political maturity, because this instability is not in the best interest of the people as it affects planning and programmes of municipalities…it dislocates the administration of municipalities,” Ndou added.

Another analyst Prof. Andre Duvenhage says what we are seeing in Johannesburg is probably an attempt at regime change, stressing it won’t be stable.

“I am expecting further instability and in the end, the municipalities that are already in trouble may end up even worse off as a result of an inability to take decisions.

“It also seems as if the ANC is very concerned about their loss in the metros because the metros are institutions with a lot of financial and other support lines and as a result of that, they need them, especially for the critical 2024 general election,” he said.

Meanwhile, newly elected Mayor Dada Morero said he will soon announce his new Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs).