'Efforts to remove Joburg speaker will fail': DA insists ANC wants to rule via backdoor

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City of Johannesburg speaker Vasco Da Gama. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)
City of Johannesburg speaker Vasco Da Gama. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)
  • Johannesburg council speaker Vasco Da Gama will face a motion of no confidence on Wednesday. 
  • The motion was brought by opposition parties. 
  • With the DA-coalition firmly in the majority in the council, the motion will likely fail. 

Opposition parties seeking a motion of no confidence in Johannesburg council speaker Vasco Da Gama have a hostile relationship with democracy. 

This is the opinion of the DA in Johannesburg. 

DA caucus leader Bongani Nkomo said opposition parties, which had filed a motion of no confidence in Da Gama, had bad intentions for the city and its residents. 

Minority parties, including the African Independent Congress, initially filed the motion against Da Gama and Mayor Mpho Phalatse. 

Phalatse's motion was dismissed on a technicality because of the reasons behind it. 

The opposition filed the motion based on a 2017 criminal investigation into monies paid to NGO Field Band Foundation. 

Phalatse had opined on the investigation but was not a central role player, according to Nkomo. 

The Da Gama motion will be voted on when the council meets on Wednesday. 

WATCH | Joburg chamber chaos! DA lays charges against EFF after council brawl

He is accused of unlawfully appointing an acting secretary for the council.

The ANC, EFF and other political parties believe the matter was handled unfairly. 

The council's last meeting, which discussed the acting secretary matter, ended in the early morning hours with violent confrontations between EFF and DA councillors. 

The Da Gama motion will be challenging for the opposition because it does not hold enough numbers in the council. 

The DA and its coalition partners make up 140 votes in the council.

If the ANC and EFF were included, the opposition would make up 130 votes. 

On Monday, Nkomo told News24 the motion was bound to fail and some of the political parties supporting it were intent on sowing division in the coalition. 

Because of a shortfall of votes for the motion to succeed, there have been approaches to some coalition partners.

Nkomo said despite these efforts, the coalition was strong. 

He added the move represented an attempt by the ANC to return via the backdoor. 

"The people that have brought forward this motion have a hostile relationship with democracy. They are trying to rule by the backdoor.

"We understand that we are dealing with people who refuse to let go of power. People that reject that democracy has brought us here. In the past, they have done everything. Colleagues have been approached to vote. They will use every trick in the book."

"Their point is to divide. This is a fact-finding mission to see how strong and committed we are. In my opinion, we are in constant communication with the coalition members. We have received resounding support for the speaker," Nkomo said. 

The ANC said it would support the motion. 

Its caucus leader, Dada Morero, told News24 the DA was arrogant when it accused the opposition of trying to sow divisions. 

He said Da Gama had acted unfairly in favouring the DA, and because of this, he should be removed. 

"The DA did not win elections in Joburg, and they were elected by surprise. We do not want to rule via the backdoor. We have raised our issues with the speaker.

"We said we would support the motion because we believe the speaker is not acting fairly. There was a fight inside the chamber because the speaker switched off the microphones, which led to a fight. 

"If the DA has failed to appoint a competent speaker, they cannot blame that on the ANC," Morero added.

It is unclear whether the EFF will support the motion. 

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