Tshwane council meeting on motions of no confidence to continue

2020-02-19 05:23
Tshwane council. (News24)

Tshwane council. (News24)

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The Tshwane council meeting held on January, 16 which ended in acrimony following long-winded battles on the sequence in which four motions of no confidence would be heard, is expected to continue on Wednesday.

The continuation of the special council meeting, which was originally held after the ANC and EFF petitioned Tshwane Speaker Katlego Mathebe, will only have one item on the agenda - the motions of no confidence.

The four motions which were tabled, were against the mayor, speaker, acting speaker and chair of chairs.

READ| Tshwane council: Battle for sequence of motions to be heard ends in acrimony

While Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa announced he would resign, the ANC have insisted that they will push for his immediate removal, News24 previously reported.

During the original sitting, none of the motions were heard as the council spent most of the day fighting over the sequence of the motions.

According to the agenda set up by Mathebe, the motion against Mokgalapa was supposed to be heard first, followed by that of acting speaker Zweli Khumalo, the chair of chairs and lastly the one against Mathebe.

The ANC and EFF were unhappy about the sequence of the motions, arguing that they should have set the order as they petitioned for the meeting in the first place.

Both parties want the motion against the speaker to be heard first, which would force Mathebe to recuse herself as she would be conflicted.

Accusations of partisan politics

They also accused Mathebe of organising the motions in a manner which allowed her to preside over the first three motions with the intention of blocking them from going to a vote.

"She was going to do that [block the motions]. Her first intention was to change the agenda," ANC chief whip Aaron Maluleka told media at the time.

"She changed the agenda so that she can preside over all the motions, kick the three motions [out] and request the acting speaker to kick out the motion that she must face."

READ| Tshwane speaker adamant she followed the law to the letter

Mathebe refuted this, citing the rules and orders as well as the Municipal Structures Act. The speaker also said it was her prerogative to decide the order of business for the day and in terms of motions, they should be set up in the order they were received.

"Usually, the ANC sends us motions by email. This time they opted to bring to us all the motions printed liked this. Then they were received all at the same time and the same date, so we put them in order that makes sense to us," Mathebe said at the time.

With a lot of back and forth, several disruptions, a scuffle and two caucus breaks, the ANC and EFF collapsed council as they staged a walkout.

For the continuation meeting, the sequence of the motions remained unchanged in the agenda, which has been seen by News24.

Mathebe's temporary suspension

Following the special council meeting, Mathebe was suspended by Gauteng Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile for allegedly breaching the code of conduct for councillors. Former Johannesburg speaker Vasco da Gama was also suspended.

The suspensions were short-lived after the DA approached the courts for redress, leading to Maile backtracking on his decision but he maintained he had a strong case against her.

READ| Tshwane speaker on Cogta MEC's decision to suspend her - 'it was a grave breach of separation of powers'

Maile's rationale behind Mathebe's six-month suspension without pay followed a special council meeting earlier in January, where she refused to bend to calls by the ANC and EFF to change the order in which the four motions of no confidence would be heard.

"Clearly, the speaker's overall conduct was blatantly motivated to collapse the entire council proceedings to safeguard her self-interest at the expense of the interest of the residents of Tshwane," Maile said at the time.

Mathebe defended herself, saying she followed the letter of the law. She also argued that Maile did not have the power to suspend her directly and he could only exercise such powers in response to a request from a municipal council.

Other council meetings

The continuation meeting of the first ordinary sitting is expected to take place on February 26 after the original meeting collapsed.

News24 previously reported that the meeting collapsed without hearing any of the business of the day as arguments continued over the repeal of a council resolution that saw the appointment of DA councillor Zweli Khumalo as an acting speaker.

READ| 'The witch must go' - More of the same as Tshwane council sitting descends into chaos

The ANC attempted to use the meeting to bring a motion to rescind the resolution, which was then disallowed by Mathebe.

Her decision was subject to a court challenge by the ANC, which was later withdrawn.

The next ordinary council sitting was expected to take place on February 27 when it was expected that the mayoral election will be held.

So far, only the DA have announced a mayoral candidate, Randall Williams.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  stevens mokgalapa  |  katlego mathebe  |  pretoria  |  politics

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