ANC and DA wrestle over political leadership of top metros

30 January 2020 - 20:12 By Aphiwe Deklerk
The ANC and DA are wrestling over the political leadership of the country’s two top metros. Stock photo.
The ANC and DA are wrestling over the political leadership of the country’s two top metros. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

The ANC and the DA in Gauteng are at each other’s throats over the political leadership of the country’s two top metros.

This comes after two council meetings in Tshwane and Johannesburg were disrupted on Thursday after a two-month-long battle over political leadership.

In the City of Johannesburg, the DA led the disruptions in protest against new speaker Nonceba Molwele who was elected unopposed in December 2019 at a meeting which was boycotted by the party.

Though the DA did not contest the outcome in court, it has maintained that Molwele was not a legitimate speaker.

The party’s main contention was the definition of the majority which led to then speaker Vasco da Gama, a DA councillor, being removed.

In a statement on Thursday, after the meeting, the ANC slammed the DA, accusing it of being undemocratic.

“The disruption of council by the DA is again evidence that those who previously led the city are unable to adhere to democratic values and are unprepared to work for the people of Johannesburg and their development,” said ANC Johannesburg secretary Dada Morero.

His party took over power from the DA-led coalition after former mayor Herman Mashaba quit his job in protest against the return of Helen Zille as chair of the DA federal council.

“The ANC condemns the undemocratic actions of the DA in the City of Johannesburg. Once again, the DA has sought to undermine the democratic outcomes of the council of Johannesburg that voted to elect a new mayor and speaker for the city in December 2020.

“Since the election of the speaker ... the DA has had numerous opportunities to contest whatever legal issues they may wish to raise on the council meeting and election of the speaker. Their failure to do so is a reflection of their disregard for legislation that governs council,” said Morero.

In Tshwane the ANC ganged up with the EFF in a bid to topple the DA-led coalition and on Thursday, the two parties walked out for the second time, collapsing the meeting.

The ANC and EFF constitute an outright majority but have failed to take over government after two attempts.

The outcome of their first attempt, where the party passed a vote of no confidence against speaker Katlego Mathebe and mayor Stevens Makgalapa, is being challenged in the North Gauteng High Court.

A second attempt at a fresh vote of no confidence was thwarted earlier this month after Mathebe refused to amend the agenda to have a motion on her discussed first. That meeting collapsed.

Thursday’s walkout by the two parties was criticised by Gauteng DA leader John Moodey.

“The [DA] is frustrated, angered and disappointed by the chaos that erupted in the Tshwane council today which prevented council from conducting its business of approving all mayoral committee reports to serve the residents of the City of Tshwane,” said Moodey.

He said residents of Tshwane would suffer because of disruptions aimed at stopping service delivery.

“The ANC and EFF must allow council proceedings to go ahead, to allow the DA-led City of Tshwane to continue delivering services to the residents,” said Moodey.