Day of high drama in Joburg council as Mpho Phalatse voted out as mayor

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  • The City of Johannesburg council was due to vote on a motion of no confidence in mayor Mpho Phalatse on Thursday.
  • An earlier vote on whether to escalate the motion indicated the mayor could be booted out of office.
  • The mayor said she was hopeful she would survive.

Councillor Mpho Phalatse has been ousted as City of Johannesburg mayor.

This comes after three motions of no confidence were brought against her at the first ordinary council sitting of the year on Thursday.

In the first motion, 140 councillors voted in support of the item, with only 129 members of council voting for Phalatse to stay.

Despite abstaining from the vote to move the motion of no confidence forward on the agenda, ActionSA voted with the DA against the removal of Phalatse.

ActionSA councillor Sthembelo Majola told the Johannesburg city council that the party would vote with Phalatse but that she would lose.

He called the party "arrogant" and said it did not support Phalatse and had let her down.

Following the motion of no confidence, the nomination of a new mayor was due to take place.

Members of the DA argued that they did not bring their identity documents so it was not a "free and fair" election.

A notice from the secretary of council to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) said the item would take place on Friday.

Councillor Ashley Sauls from the Patriotic Alliance said the DA members should go fetch their IDs.

"To the DA, if you think you're going to come to the PA tonight and talk, we're not going to talk - we're ready to serve.

"[Instead of deferring until Friday], the councillors should have two hours to go fetch their [IDs], and the remaining can go and get the cars cleaned so they are nice and clean for the new [MMCs]," he said.

Speaker Colleen Makhubele, who escaped a motion of no confidence herself when ActionSA withdrew its motion, took the decision to the legal bodies.

When she returned, she was scathing in her decision to defer the vote for the new mayor until Friday.

"The recommendations are clear that upon the removal of the mayor there will be a call for a new mayor. Your ignorance and laziness in reading the agenda should not affect the vote."

READ | Mbalula concedes ANC shoulders some blame for political killings in Mpumalanga

She addressed councillor Leah Knott, who spoke about the DA expecting the new mayor to be voted in on Friday.

Makhubele said the election would be held on Friday.

With that she adjourned the meeting.

Speaking after council, councillor Thapelo Amad from AL Jama-ah addressed the rumours he would be the next executive mayor.

He said the opposition looked at him, Makhubele and councillor Margaret Arnolds, but ultimately chose him. "My name emerged and I am humbled they have stood behind my name," he said.


The first indication emerged early in the day that Phalatse wouldn't have the numbers to survive. Opposition parties voted to escalate the motions of no confidence in the executive mayor, pushing them up the agenda for the day.

The vote to move the agenda item up the list indicated how the councillors would vote. There were 266 councillors in the chamber, while four were absent.

The opposition voted with 140 members for the motion while 50 members abstained.

Those who abstained were members of ActionSA and IFP.

Speaking at what would be her final briefing as mayor earlier on Thursday, Phalatse said she was hopeful she would survive the vote despite three motions of no confidence against her.

"We've survived so many but hopefully, we will live to see another day."

Several hours later her hopes were dashed.

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