Third time a charm for Joburg council?

Joburg council is expected to meet for the third time today, after two previous meetings ended abruptly following chaos between political parties.

Gauteng’s department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) says they have received reassurance from political parties that there will be order in Thursday’s Johannesburg council meeting.

This follows the MEC Lebogang Maile’s meeting with council speaker Vasco da Gama and political parties represented in the council on Wednesday, ahead of the vote for Section 79 portfolio chairs.

Maile said that this was an attempt of achieving co-operative governance.

“The purpose of this engagement is, amongst others, to facilitate a meaningful discussion on the challenges currently experienced by the Council, to find long lasting solutions and to ensure that the stability of Council is not compromised any further,” the Maile said at the meeting.

ALSO READ: Joburg council meeting postponed following disruptions by ANC, EFF

The City of Johannesburg held council meetings on 13 and 18 January. However, both meetings were unsuccessful, following a clash between different political parties.

Most councillors voted to elect Section 79 committee chairpersons by a show of hands, instead of the secret ballot that the parties had called for.

Section 79 chairpersons hold the executive accountable through their oversight role. 

The ANC caucus in the City of Joburg said it was “utterly sickened” after the secret ballot voting process was refused by the Speaker of Council. 

Maile expressed concern for the stability of the city, which will “no doubt impact adversely on the rights of the citizens of Johannesburg to be provided with efficient and effective basic services.”

All parties are said to have honoured the invitation, and the department has declared it a “positive sign” that parties are committed to act in the best interest of Johannesburg residents.

“The participants engaged robustly and honestly in a cordial and respectful manner,” said Lupi Ngcayisa, the department’s spokesperson.

Maile and his department are hopeful that the Thursday meeting will be a success.

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