Gauteng steps in, issues stern warning over political games in Joburg, Tshwane

Gauteng Premier David Makhura is pictured during an interview with City Press at the Gauteng provincial government offices in Johannesburg. Picture: Rosetta Msimango
Gauteng Premier David Makhura is pictured during an interview with City Press at the Gauteng provincial government offices in Johannesburg. Picture: Rosetta Msimango

The ANC-led Gauteng government is flexing its muscles and has sent a stern warning to the DA over “playing political games” in Tshwane and Johannesburg.

Premier David Makhura and local government MEC Lebogang Maile sent the warning following the postponement of a council sitting in Tshwane and a breakdown in proceedings in Joburg during last week’s sittings.

Johannesburg is without a mayor after Herman Mashaba served his last day on Wednesday.

Tshwane mayor Stevens Mogalapa is under investigation by the DA after a leaked audio of him discussing council matters with member of the mayoral committee Sheila Senkubuge was made public. The ANC and EFF are trying to pass a motion of no confidence in Mogalapa.

Makhura expressed serious concerns over the state of governance in Tshwane and has asked Maile to submit a report to the executive council on the state of affairs in the city.

Of particular interest to the premier is Johannesburg’s financial state, service delivery, governance and administration, including allegations of corruption, as well as the status of the mayor.

“Should the city of Johannesburg fail to elect a mayor on Wednesday ... the provincial government will intervene decisively,” he said.

“We will not allow political games on matters that fundamentally affect the lives of millions of Gauteng residents. It is time for swift and decisive action where there is governance or service delivery failure.

“There is administration and governance chaos in the city and all surveys point to the fact that service delivery has taken a deep knock and residents are suffering. There is a total mismanagement of the city, which has eroded public confidence,” Makhura said.

On Tuesday morning, Maile also wrote to Johannesburg council speaker Vasco da Gama informing him that a new executive mayor should be installed to ensure that the city can adequately respond to service delivery expectations of Johannesburg residents.

The new Johannesburg mayor was supposed to be elected on Thursday, but chaos and drama ensued at the city’s council chambers following a decision by the speaker, Vasco da Gama, to postpone the voting process to Wednesday.

Da Gama cited a need for legal opinion on the interpretation of the Municipal Structures Act and council rules on council majority.

He said council rules stipulated a 50% plus one majority rule in council elections but there was ambiguity in the Municipal Structures Act.

The leader of ANC-aligned Al Jam-ah, Ganief Hendricks, said the postponement was an underhanded move by the EFF and DA, who were “in cahoots”.

Last week, Maile wrote a formal letter to the City of Johannesburg’s council speaker about what he called the “abrupt postponement” of the council meeting.

He said it was clear that Da Gama’s postponement of the sitting “was not only a frontal attack on council members, but deliberate abuse of power”.

Maile gave Da Gama seven days to explain his actions, before he could exercise his statutory powers to deal with the “unbecoming and unlawful conduct of the speaker”.

It is unclear if the DA or Da Gama have responded to Maile.

READ: DA ‘confident’ it will be able to retain Joburg mayorship

ANC spokesperson Jolidee Matongo in Johannesburg said the party is aware of the plan to collapse the council meeting by the DA tomorrow.

“We are aware of a plan to collapse the council meeting tomorrow if things do not go according to the DA led coalition. We want to assure the residents of Johannesburg that tomorrow the ANC and its partners in council will do everything possible to ensure that an executive mayor is elected and a government is formed,” said Matongo.

The ANC is pushing for the election to go ahead as soon as possible as it seems assured of victory, having managed to woo most smaller parties to jump ship from their prior arrangement with the DA to now agreeing to vote with them.

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July 2020

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