Court reinstates DA’s Mpho Phalatse as City of Johannesburg mayor
Morero announces he has “stepped aside officially as the executive mayor”.
The DA’s Mpho Phalatse has been reinstated as the City of Johannesburg mayor.
The South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday declared invalid and unlawful Phalatse’s removal through a motion of no confidence and the subsequent election of the ANC’s Dada Morero last month.
Phalatse was removed by an ANC-led coalition with the help of the EFF and the Patriotic Alliance.
The coalition had earlier installed Cope’s Colleen Makhubele as the speaker who scheduled a council sitting two days later that effectively removed Phalatse and installed Morero.
The high court has declared the sitting unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.
The programmes committee meeting that scheduled the council sitting of September 30 that elected Morero has been set aside.
“The first applicant [Phalatse] is declared to be the executive mayor of the City of Johannesburg,” the high court ruled.
In response, Morero announced on his Facebook page that he has “stepped aside officially as the executive mayor”.
All decisions taken by Morero as mayor since his election have also been deemed unlawful, unconstitutional, invalid and set aside.
Makhubele’s lawyers had argued that should the court find against her, it should not remove Morero as mayor but rather instruct the city to schedule another council meeting where a new mayor would be elected.
This they argued was because changing the status quo would be short-lived as the ANC-led coalition enjoyed the majority and were likely to win the mayoral vote.
“It was suggested by the respondents that I could consider granting a structural interdict, on the basis that I endorse the present status quo with Mr Morero as Executive Mayor, but lay down a timetable and procedure for the motion to be tabled once again before the Council. I can see no reason for doing so.
“There is a procedure set out in the Rules for motions of no confidence. The plain and simple fact is that the Speaker and the council failed to follow a lawful process. The outcome of that unlawful process must be reversed,” the court ruled.
Makhubele’s lawyers also argued that the scheduling of the council sitting outside the permitted 72-hour period should be allowed to stand as the ANC-led coalition had the required numbers to win and it would not have made any difference had the sitting been scheduled for a later date.
The court rejected this notion saying anything could happen in the world of politics which is not predictable.
“The test should not be the number of votes in favour of the motion of no confidence. After all, they were cast in the context of a tainted process.
“Who knows what might have happened if proper notice had been given to councillors and if they had had sufficient time to do their preparations, or if proper debate had been allowed, or if the Speaker had given due consideration to postponing the meeting in light of the pending first urgent application?
“The outcome may have been the same. But this is immaterial: a truly democratic outcome requires a democratic and constitutionally sound prior procedure,” the court said.
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