No-confidence vote against Mangaung mayor requires secret ballot: DA

09 March 2020 - 17:06 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
Mangaung mayor Sarah Mlamleli.
Mangaung mayor Sarah Mlamleli.

The DA in the Mangaung metro has called on council speaker Mxolisi Siyonzana to allow a secret ballot when the vote of no confidence against mayor Sarah Mlamleli takes place on Tuesday.

The DA moved the no-confidence motion against the ANC mayor, whom they accuse of “disastrous rule” as the leader of the Bloemfontein-based council.

This will not be the first time that the DA has called for Mlamleli's head, having moved the same motion last year — but this never made it to council after the speaker dismissed it as “vague”.

DA councillor Mokgadi Kganakga on Monday said the ANC mayor had nowhere to hide and would fall if the speaker, who is also an ANC councillor, allows for a secret ballot.

Siyonzana will only decide on whether an open ballot or a secret one will be used at the actual council sitting on Tuesday.

Kganakga said councillors must be allowed to vote with “their conscience” instead of towing the party line, which would see Mlamleli survive the chop, given the ANC's majority in Mangaung.

“As the DA we want to appeal to the speaker Mxolisi Siyonzana — whom we think has finally put his political affiliations and ambitions aside and is starting to focus on the metro’s wellbeing — to please in tomorrow’s council meeting use the secret ballot box for councillors to cast their votes,” she said.

“What is in the best interest of the people is to protect the councillors' voting rights. One’s vote should remain a secret. That should count in councils all over South Africa, especially in tomorrow's council sitting.

“A raise of hands can and will result in intimidation [and] violence, putting councillors' lives in jeopardy if found to be voting with their conscience instead of [on] party lines or affiliation.”

The DA in Mangaung believes that the council speaker should be guided by the 2017 court ruling relating to the National Assembly, wherein the court ruled that the speaker had the constitutional power to prescribe that a vote of no confidence be conducted by secret ballot as it related to then scandal-prone president Jacob Zuma.

Among the evidence cited for Mlamleli not being fit for the job is the downgrading of the metro's investment grading by Moody's two times in a year. Under Mlamleli, charges the DA, the financial position of the municipality has gone from bad to worse.

“Crises during her term include the burning down of the historic Bloemfontein City Hall, the non-payment of Bloemwater and Eskom, and service delivery to residents of Mangaung that has ground to a halt numerous times,” said Kganakga.

“Currently the metro owes Bloemwater R780m and owes R300m to Eskom. The total debt for the Mangaung metro is staggering R6.5bn.” 

The council meeting that will decide Mlamleli's fate is set for 2pm on Tuesday.