Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Parties planning to remove City of Tshwane speaker as Gauteng govt urged to intervene

A council sitting has been scheduled for next week to elect a new mayor.

Tension is seemingly brewing in the City of Tshwane, with the mayor-less metropolitan municipality seeking to carry on with its business.

Motion of no confidence

A council sitting has been scheduled for this coming Tuesday by Tshwane speaker Murunwa Makwarela.

Councillors are expected to elect of a new mayor following the resignation of Democratic Alliance (DA) member Randall Williams.

Makwarela refused a request to call for an urgent council on Friday, leaving the DA-led coalition dissatisfied.

The coalition partners have since indicated that they are planning to remove Makwarela from his position for refusing “to comply with a petition of a majority of councillors for a meeting to be called”.

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“A motion of no confidence will be submitted against the speaker of Tshwane for his deliberate actions to place the multi-party coalition at risk and for his disregard of the law in his refusal to call the requisite council meeting,” the multi-party coalition said in a statement.

The political parties, which include the DA, ActionSA, and FF Plus, also threatened legal action against Makwarela to compel the speaker to convene a council sitting.

The parties explained that the rush to elect a mayor stemmed from a need to urgently pass an adjustment budget for the city by the end of February.

“The speaker has scheduled the meeting to elect the new mayor on 28 February, which will prevent the adjustment budget being passed by the legislated deadline of the same day. This leaves the door open to the provincial government placing the City of Tshwane under administration, as the premier of Gauteng has already indicated his intention to do so.”

They have also accused the speaker of “jumping ship” to join forces with the ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Tshwane.

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But Makwarela has disputed the parties’ claims.

“It is important to note, that these fact are misrepresented and untrue. On Wednesday, 22 February, at approximately 09:25, my office received a hand-delivered request dated the 21 February from the multi-party coalition.

“The request was that I convene a special council meeting for the election of the executive mayor, this despite my office publishing a notice inviting councillors to a special council meeting on 28 February,” he said in a statement.

‘Serious allegations’

Makwarela said approximately 108 councillors had to be in support of calling a council sitting in order for the speaker to consider the matter.

“The request received by the multi-party coalition was only accompanied by 107 signatures. It is also important to note, any decision to call a meeting must comply with the internal rules and orders of a municipality in terms of adequate notice, in this case at least 48 hours, for a special council meeting,” the speaker continued.

The Congress of the People (Cope) councillor also dismissed the suggestion that the city would be placed under administration.

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“This too is incorrect. as there is no legislative requirement that the city must approve an adjustment budget. In order for the city to be placed under administration the city must fail to submit an annual budget,” Makwarela said.

“I also take note of the serious allegations made in the multi-party media statement stating that I have now aligned myself with the ANC and the EFF in an effort to get elected as the mayor of the municipality.

“This is a misrepresentation of myself and my character I have always been and will remain committed to this multi-party coalition. If the multi-party coalition members believe that they should table a motion of no confidence against me, in terms of the rules and orders of council. they are welcome to do so,” he added.

‘Lost the plot’

Meanwhile, former ActionSA councillor, Abel Tau has called for the city to be placed under administration because he believes the DA has collapsed the metro.

“Their latest statement threatening to put a motion of no confidence against the speaker, Dr Murunwa Makwarela, a member of Cope, which is one of their coalition partners evidence that they’ve lost the plot and have no plans to save the city.

“We, therefore, call on the Gauteng provincial government to save the city from the imminent calamity. We are of the view that recent developments warrant for the city to be placed under the provincial government’s administration and go on fresh elections within 90 days,” the United Africans Transformation (UAT) leader said on Thursday.

Resignation confusion

Williams resigned from his position on 13 February and appointed the city’s now former MMC for Finance, Peter Sutton, to act as mayor.

He later changed his resignation to come into effect on 28 February and was accepted by Makwarela, therefore, cancelling a council meeting scheduled for last Thursday.

However, the EFF in Tshwane insisted that the former mayor’s first letter was valid and should be the one accepted by the council.

Members of the EFF stormed to the Tshwane House last week, demanding the removal of mayoral committee members because Williams’ resignation dissolved the positions.

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