The DA in Mpumalanga has resorted to instituting legal action to remove ANC-aligned Speaker in the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality in Secunda. This was after she had stubbornly occupied the seat even though the majority of councillors voted her out when a motion of no confidence was tabled in March.
Fikile Magagamela refused to step down after opposition parties, who are in the majority, supported the motion of no confidence tabled by the African Transformation Movement (ATM). The ATM claimed it was dissatisfied with Magagamela being a “referee and a player” when presiding over council meetings.
The ANC failed to win an outright majority in Govan Mbeki after the November 1 local government elections. It registered 41.08% of the vote and had to place 26 councillors in the council. The opposition parties are collectively represented by 37 councillors.
The ANC only managed to vote for its mayor, Nhlakanipho Zuma, because the smaller parties could not reach coalition agreements, particularly the DA, which got 26.57% of the votes while the EFF garnered 19.88%.
DA councillor James Masango said that the party’s lawyers had written to the acting municipal manager, Elizabeth Tshabalala, demanding that she presides over a council meeting to elect a new Speaker. He said:
He added that the DA regarded all council meetings that took place after March 31 and presided by Magagamela as null and void.
ANC spokesperson Ngelosi Ndlovu said that the provincial executive committee had not taken a decision. “There’s no formal position of the ANC on that matter. It may still be in the hands of the caucus.”
Govan Mbeki is among three municipalities where the ANC failed to get the majority of the vote for the first time since 1994. The party also lost ground for the first time in Mkhondo (Piet Retief) and Lekwa (Standerton).
Mkhondo is in the hands of an independent councillor, Mthokozisi Simelane, who is a mayor, and Lekwa was won by Lekwa Community Forum and its mayor is Delani Thabethe.
In Nkomazi Local Municipality in Malalane, ANC mayor Johan Mkhatshwa is stubbornly occupying the seat after renegade party councillors voted him in with the help of the EFF. The ANC provincial executive committee is still trying to remove him.