Johannesburg - Late-night drama preceded Friday’s chaotic Rustenburg council sitting, after two opposition would-be councillors from the Economic Freedom Fighters-backed Forum 4 Service Delivery were suspended and then reinstated.
Former African National Congress members Pogiso Bhotomane and Rocky Malebane-Metsing were due to be sworn in as breakaway F4SD councillors.
Their lawyers said an F4SD official wrote to the Rustenburg municipal manager, saying the two had been suspended from the party and could not be sworn in as councillors.
After a seven-hour battle and threats of an interdict from the duo, the party informed the council just after 12:00 that the suspension had not been a decision of the leadership and had happened without due process.
Both were allowed to be sworn in as councillors on Friday morning.
Control of the council is a close race between the ANC, with 43 seats, and opposition parties, which together have 46 seats.
EFF leader Julius Malema vowed that the council would no longer be controlled by the ANC. He said his party agreed to work with the F4SD, whose leader, Bosa Ledwaba, was the opposition nominee for the council.
Democratic Alliance constituency head Herman Groenewald said opposition parties agreed to vote together against the ANC.
The African Independent Congress’s (AIC) position was, however, unclear. The party agreed to vote with the ANC in Ekurhuleni. It was however understood that there was some internal disagreement in the party about how to vote in Rustenburg.
The AIC had one seat in the Rustenburg council, which was unlikely to sway support in favour of the ANC if all other opposition parties voted together.
Secret voting for mayor and speaker was set to commence around lunchtime, after the EFF’s request for an open vote was turned down.