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South Africa

DA accuses ANC of fraud over no confidence motions in Tshwane

On Thursday, the Johannesburg council is set to elect a new mayor, with the DA, ANC and EFF all due to nominate candidates, while a motion of no confidence in the DA’s Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa will be tabled.

The Tshwane ANC had hoped to hold a special council sitting on Thursday, 9 January 2020 in the city to vote on motions of no confidence against the speaker, mayor, deputy mayor, and chair of chairs of the city. However, the Tshwane DA said that no notice was issued for the sitting and have now accused the ANC of fraud.

On Wednesday, 8 January, Tshwane members of the ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), were expected to table motions of no confidence against the DA-led City of Tshwane Executive Mayor, Steve Mokgalapa; Speaker, Katlego Mathebe; Acting Speaker, Zweli Khumalo; and Chair of Chairs, Gert Pretorius.

This follows after a leaked audio clip featuring Mokgalapa and now former MMC for roads and transport, Sheila Senkubuge surfaced in November 2019.

Reports by TimesLive and EWN stated that Mokgalapa and Senkubuge were allegedly engaging in intimate acts in the audio clip.

Since then, Mokgalapa has been placed on leave.

On 3 January, both the EFF and ANC sent a letter to Mathebe demanding that their motions of no confidence against Mokgalapa and his mayoral committee be discussed on 8 January. The letter was accompanied by a petition signed by 89 councillors from both parties.

Chairperson for the ANC in Tshwane, Kgosi Maepa told Daily Maverick that the party had given Mathebe until 7 January to respond, but she had not done so. It was the ANC’s view that she was in violation of Section 29.1 of the Municipal Structures Act.

That act clearly states that when a petition is submitted by the majority of council, the speaker must call a meeting on the time written on the petition, which was 8 January 2020 at ten o’clock,” said Maepa.

However, a day after the deadline (Wednesday), Mathebe threw out a petition submitted by the opposition parties, claiming that the ANC’s petition allegedly contained seven forged signatures that did not match those signed on the dotted lines of the council’s official register.

It was only through due diligence that the speaker does in her office, that she noticed that there were some legality problems,” DA’s deputy chief whip, Mpho Mehlape-Zimu told Daily Maverick. “If one signature on the register is deemed to be fraudulent or under question then it nullifies the whole register.”

ANC’s Maepa argues that this is a delay tactic as well an abuse of political power.

How do I fake my own signature? That’s craziness, I write with my own hand,” said Maepa.

Following this allegation, the ANC and EFF submitted a new petition once again with new signatures on 7 January. However, Mathebe had said that she would require reasonable time to organise the meeting.

The meeting that was meant to take place on 9 January was meant to be the speakers “reasonable time”, when the discussion could take place, said Maepa, but then the meeting did not happen.

All the councillors were here,” said Maepa.

Mehlape-Zimu said there should be no meeting as no notice was put out.

How that meeting was convened, this is something that they would have to tell you because there has been no notice to that effect,” said Mehlape-Zimu. “But as far as the DA caucus Tshwane is concerned, there is no meeting, there was no meeting, there should be no meeting.”

The ANC, however, believe the speaker is siding with the DA – in the words of Maepa:

The council speaker is meant to be an independent, but she is now a DA speaker. She speaks for the DA.” DM

Update: The office of the speaker has subsequently released a statement that the special council meeting will take place on Thursday 16 January. Both the Democratic Alliance and African National Congress have confirmed the meeting to Daily Maverick.

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