In one of the toughest weeks for DA-led coalitions in metros across the country, party leader Mmusi Maimane backed Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga ahead of a motion of no confidence on Thursday. The ball is now in the EFF's court. If it finds common ground with the ANC, Msimanga will be headed to the opposition benches.
DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, speaking in Johannesburg after a special meeting of the party’s federal executive on Wednesday morning, said the DA refused to buckle to demands from the EFF, the kingmaker in Tshwane.
“We believe that it would be wrong for the Democratic Alliance to say we will remove Solly Msimanga for doing the right thing. He is investigating corruption. He is standing strong against corruption,” said Maimane.
“We stand firm and resolute behind Councillor Solly Msimanga as mayor of Tshwane,” the DA leader continued.
“So come tomorrow’s council meeting we will not be fielding a different candidate. The caucus is resolute. The Democratic Alliance and the federal executive is resolute on this matter,” he continued.
Msimanga faces motions of no confidence on Thursday from the ANC and EFF. Together, the two parties have a majority in the council and can remove the DA-led coalition if they vote together.
Maimane, who was speaking alongside Msimanga, DA Gauteng leader John Moodey and the party’s regional leaders in the province, said this is a key moment in South Africa. He described it as a “stark choice” between parties focused on service delivery and those focused on corruption.
“We’re of the complete view that the assault isn’t just against what takes place in government, the assault is against the will of the voters,” the DA leader said.
On Tuesday, EFF leader Julius Malema committed to voting Msimanga out of office. He said the mayor has appointed unqualified officials, won’t challenge white DA members, and irregularly sought to have city manager Moeketsi Mosola suspended.
While initially voting DA mayors into office in 2016 and supporting them on an issue-by-issue basis, the EFF has recently challenged the DA and what Malema calls its white arrogance.
Maimane hit back: “Arrogance is going to another party and saying to them that your mayor is doing a job, and it’s not one we like. We want another one.
“Really, we are not going to be some puppets here,” he said.
On Monday, the EFF voted with the ANC, UDM and other smaller parties to remove former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip and his DA-led coalition on Monday.
The council then elected the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani as mayor. The DA is planning a court challenge to nullify the no confidence motion passed against Trollip.
Malema said Msimanga would be the next mayor to fall. He said the Tshwane mayor had failed to consult the EFF, which the DA-led coalition in Tshwane relies on to have a majority in council.
Malema said the EFF would vote for a credible candidate from any party to replace Msimanga. The DA has said it would not present any other nominee other than the current mayor. The ANC plans to nominate its Tshwane regional leader Kgosi Maepa as mayor.
The DA said on Wednesday that if the EFF votes with the ANC on Thursday, it will essentially be cementing its alliance with the ruling party, and should tell citizens as much. Malema has strenuously denied the claim.
Maimane said he is willing to meet the EFF ahead of the vote, but the EFF may look to punish the DA’s continued stance.
“Are we ready to be in opposition, of course,” said Maimane. DM