ANC councillor elected unopposed as City of Joburg speaker

2019-12-11 13:37
City of Joburg council chambers. (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

City of Joburg council chambers. (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

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ANC councillor Nonceba Molwele was elected City of Johannesburg speaker during a council sitting on Wednesday afternoon.

Molwele was elected unopposed after her predecessor, Vasco da Gama, was ousted on Thursday last week. 

Members of the DA and the EFF did not appear to be present during the council sitting, which went ahead as it had reached a quorum.

The ANC called the DA's absence an act of cowardice.

"The DA is literally showing a middle finger to those who voted it into council. Those voters must be regretting now," ANC chief whip Solomon Mogase said in a statement on Wednesday. 

"The DA should, just like they did with the election of the executive mayor, nominate their own candidate and let there be a contestation," he added. 

The election was chaired by city manager Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni. News24 previously reported that the DA in Johannesburg had asked him to call off this council sitting, arguing that an urgent meeting to elect a new speaker was unlawful because the position was not yet vacant.

"This is unlawful, as the position of the speaker is not vacant. Even if it were vacant, neither the MEC, nor the mayor, nor the city manager are legally competent to act," DA caucus leader Funzela Ngobeni told News24.

The DA's Mike Moriarty says that the political party never regarded the council meeting as legal. 

"We have never regarded this meeting as legal so we will be considering our options. We will take advise," he told the media at the council chambers.

He further revealed that two DA councillors who have not been named attended the sitting to help reach quorum. 

"Two of our councilors came in to meet quorum and they will be facing consequences, they will be served with notices," he said.

READ |DA asks Joburg city manager to cancel council meeting to elect new speaker 

The DA lost the metro to the ANC last Wednesday, with the election of the ANC's Geoff Makhubo as executive mayor.

In addition, last week, a Tshwane special council meeting saw the successful removal of Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and Speaker Katlego Mathebe, following motions of no confidence, News24 reported. 

On Friday, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria suspended all resolutions passed in the Tshwane council on Thursday until the DA's urgent court application is heard next week Tuesday, News24 reported.

The council sitting has been adjourned. 

Satisfied with outcome

Gauteng Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile was satisfied with the election of the speaker, but expressed concern over the absence of the DA and EFF. 

"We are of the view that the last council meeting that was postponed was supposed to proceed and elect the speaker. There was no basis not to conclude the election of the speaker. The sitting happened and we are very happy, but we are disappointed that councilors from two other democratic parties were not present. That is not democratic,” he said. 

Maile further said that he does not see an issue with any of the decisions being possibly contested in the courts.

"We will support the decision of the courts because they are the final arbiter of the interpretation of the law," he said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  politics
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