DA, ActionSA at loggerheads: How former coalition partners failed to snatch back Joburg
Residents of the city have been let down, says ActionSA Gauteng chair Funzi Ngobeni
ActionSA has blamed its former coalition partner, the DA, for allegedly refusing an opportunity to reclaim the City of Johannesburg.
This follows the DA's boycott of a recent council sitting where Margaret Arnolds was elected the new speaker.
Details have emerged that after the axing of former speaker Colleen Makhubele and the subsequent speaker vacancy, ActionSA initiated talks between its former coalition partners to woo the Patriotic Alliance (PA) to ditch the ANC/EFF coalition and cross floors.
Funzi Ngobeni, ActionSA Gauteng provincial chairperson, said during these discussions the PA availed themselves to restore the majority behind a coalition with the DA, ActionSA, IFP, FF Plus, ACDP and the UIM.
“The nature of these discussions afforded the DA the opportunity to determine whether they would like to lead this arrangement or whether they would prefer to support a candidate from one of these parties to win Joburg away from the ANC and EFF,” he said.
However, Ngobeni lamented that despite their approach, coalition partners were informed late by the DA that it would not support any arrangement to take back Joburg.
“The DA has every right, and was given every opportunity, to decide how they wish to participate in a new coalition, but they have opted rather for the continued governance of the ANC and EFF.
“It is devastating to the residents of Joburg that they will continue to suffer under the failed governance of mayors and speakers from parties with no discernible constituency, whose price for the privilege of leaching Africa’s greatest city is for their strings to be pulled by the ANC and the EFF.”
Ngobeni said the party's reason for wanting to snatch the city back was because of the decline of infrastructure, citing that the metro centre where officials used to work is now closed and services have “all but come to a halt”.
“It must be known by every resident of Joburg, and those that look to the DA in Gauteng in 2024, that their suffering under the ANC and EFF is avoidable and the result of the DA. Every cent that is stolen, every pothole that develops, every customer care failure, every stalled project is brought to the residents of Joburg by the DA.”
To demonstrate the extent to which this motion is a gimmick it must be known that the DA has not solicited the support of any of its former coalition partners. It is designed to create the appearance of doing something while they avoid any real step that can begin the work to fix JoburgFunzi Ngobeni, ActionSA Gauteng chair
Belinda Echeozonjoku, the DA caucus leader, dismissed claims that her party had had negotiations with ActionSA or the PA.
“We have been clear that the revolving door of mayors and speakers will not fix the problems of Johannesburg. It results in different political parties scrambling for positions. The PA had on more than one occasion shown the residents of Johannesburg that they cannot be trusted to keep their word and they chose to be part of the chaos.”
In addition to ditching attempts to meet or negotiate, the DA boycotted the election of the speaker on Monday, saying it was a “waste of money”.
Ngobeni said the DA would attempt to justify its absence in its impending motion to dissolve the council.
“This motion has no pathway to achieve the requisite two-third majority threshold, even with the support of the ANC, which has been canvassed. To demonstrate the extent to which this motion is a gimmick it must be known that the DA has not solicited the support of any of its former coalition partners. It is designed to create the appearance of doing something while they avoid any real step that can begin the work to fix Joburg,” said Ngobeni.
Echeozonjoku poured cold water on these claims and justified her party's refusal to engage the PA, citing their involvement in the ANC-led coalition as having voted for matters now in court — referring to the appeal made regarding the court outcome declaring Floyd Brink, the city manager, unlawful and irregular.
“We had been clear that any political party in council that is serious about bringing stability in Johannesburg should support the DA's motion to dissolve council and call fresh elections that will give power back to the residents of Johannesburg.”
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