Steenhuisen lambasts parties who axed Joburg mayor, says DA will challenge Phalatse removal in court

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DA leader John Steenhuisen spoke to citizens live from the party's Youtube.
DA leader John Steenhuisen spoke to citizens live from the party's Youtube.
Screengrab via Youtube/DA
  • DA leader John Steenhuisen lambasted ANC and minority parties for axing the Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse.
  • The party is challenging the motion, and the election of mayor-elect Dada Morero, in court.
  • Steenhuisen said the "kangaroo-style" extraordinary sitting of the council was completed through "nefarious tactics".

DA leader John Steenhuisen took aim at the ANC and smaller parties which managed to vote out Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse on Friday.

In a speech on the DA YouTube platform, Steenhuisen said the motion and the vote for incumbent mayor Dada Morero was unlawful, adding the party would be challenging it in court.

Steenhuisen called the ninth extraordinary sitting of the council a "kangaroo-style council meeting" completed through "nefarious tactics".

"After months of efforts to destabilise coalitions across the country, today the ANC succeeded in seizing control of Johannesburg. I warned precisely a few weeks ago that this is what is transpiring in the background. The ANC's desperation to get their hands on tenders and contracts from Johannesburg's R76 billion budget is now clear for all to see," he said.

He went on to call out those who went against the coalition.

"This very unfortunate sequence of events started with an unprovoked motion of no confidence against our speaker, Vasco da Gama."

READ | Budget, electricity top of the list for newly elected Joburg mayor Dada Morero

Steenhuisen said the terms of the signed coalition agreement were that the speaker's position be filled in Johannesburg by the DA.

"But due to the treachery of individual members of coalition partners, Vasco was voted out. We are grateful to all our coalition partners – except Cope – who acted swiftly to expel their rogue members.

"After our prescribed processes, the DA re-nominated Vasco [da Gama] to fill the vacant position. On receiving resistance from coalition partners, we were willing to be flexible on the candidate and nominate an alternate, Alex Christians."

He said ActionSA then suggested that the DA relinquish this negotiated position and hand it to the IFP.

This went against the coalition agreement, and Steenhuisen said, "a deal is a deal". 

But minority parties within the coalition continued to agitate for the IFP to take the position of speaker, and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) said they would not support Christians.

"The ANC, EFF and PA voted together to select the Cope rogue councillor, Colleen Makhubele, as the speaker. Ignoring due process entirely, Colleen Makhubele forged ahead to convene a council meeting to oust Phalatse as mayor this morning, in a process so flawed that we will challenge it in court.

READ | Joburg coalition accuses Cope's Colleen Makhubele of voting with ANC to serve own interests

"Treachery will not stand. Subterfuge will not hold. And we will not succumb to the politics of extortion and blackmail."

Speaking to reporters on Friday, mayor-elect Morero said: "We need to distinguish ourselves from the DA; they were just doing investigations whilst we get going. Johannesburg will once again become a construction site."

In his acceptance speech in council, Morero apologised to the residents who voted them out in 2016.

"We apologise, and we have learned from our mistakes. What happened today illustrates what can go wrong when government fails. The DA made us promises but gave us a false Golden Start."

He said the first things on his to-do list were to recover and stabilise the city budget and fix the energy crisis.

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