ANC, EFF councillors disrupt City of Joburg council sitting in battle over voting procedures

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ANC and EFF members singing during the Johannesburg council sitting on Thursday.
ANC and EFF members singing during the Johannesburg council sitting on Thursday.
ZIntle Mahlati, News24
  • The first council sitting for the City of Johannesburg descended into chaos on Thursday afternoon.
  • Councillors argued over the voting procedure for the election of Section 79 committee chairpersons. 
  • Speaker Vasco da Gama struggled to keep councillors silent, but EFF and ANC councillors sang over his warnings. 

A special sitting of the City of Johannesburg council descended into chaos on Thursday over voting procedures for crucial oversight council roles.

The first council sitting for Johannesburg had the following items on the agenda: chair of chairs, and chairpersons of all Section 79 committees. 

These committees give oversight over the governing of the City. 

The starting time for the meeting was 10:00. However, by 17:30, none of the items on the agenda had been dealt with. 

The crucial dispute was the voting process for the appointments. 

The multiparty coalition, led by the DA and including parties such as ActionSA, supported an open voting process by a show of hands. 

The ANC and the EFF supported voting by secret ballot. 

The stalemate started once the council speaker, Vasco da Gama, called on council officials to count how many councillors supported a secret ballot and those against it. 

The officials were obstructed by some councillors from performing their duties. Da Gama had to repeatedly reprimand councillors who were blocking officials from counting. 

The delays were further fueled by constant singing from ANC councillors led by caucus leader and former Johannesburg mayor Mpho Moerane. 

The EFF also joined in the singing. 

By 17:30, the council had failed to resume. 

READ | ANC Joburg region gunning for legislative oversight positions in DA-led administration

The ANC supported the secret ballot as it had decided on field members to contest some of the oversight committees. 

The party was said to be in talks with other smaller political parties which form part of the council.

News24 had been informed that one of the parties involved in the negotiations with the ANC is Al Jama-ah – one of the members of the multiparty coalition. 

The EFF was interested in heading some of the committees, despite not being in the coalition agreement. 

The multiparty coalition had planned to put forward its members. 

The first council sitting of 2022 could be an indication of what to expect in the coming months, as no political party managed to win an outright majority at the 2021 municipal elections - paving the way for a fractious governing period. 

The DA managed to form a coalition partnership with over 10 political parties to govern the city. 

The leadership roles in the mayoral committee were divided among each coalition partner, with DA member Mpho Phalatse as mayor.   

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