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ANC wants City of Joburg back – coalition teeters as speaker Vasco da Gama falters in no-confidence motion

ANC wants City of Joburg back – coalition teeters as speaker Vasco da Gama falters in no-confidence motion
Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake) | ActionSA president Herman Mashaba. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle) | Dada Morero, the ANC's head of caucus. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed) | Cope's Colleen Makhubele is now acting council speaker. (Photo: Supplied)

Daily Maverick goes behind the scenes of a dramatic late-night vote against Da Gama.

The ANC wants the City of Johannesburg back. The party’s head of caucus Dada Morero wants to be mayor and he reportedly spearheaded a late-night move (31 August) to push a successful motion of no confidence against council speaker Vasco da Gama.  

DA coalition partner says Da Gama had to go to balance City of Joburg power dynamics

The ANC has the largest number of votes in the council, but a DA-led multiparty coalition headed by executive mayor Mpho Phalatse governs the city.

Now the ANC wants it back, and the motion against Da Gama signals the start of a series of moves to unseat the coalition. Johannesburg’s power is shared tenuously across parties, as this graphic shows.  

The EFF is the kingmaker party, and its abstention from voting led to Phalatse’s election after the November 2021 election. 

On Wednesday night, the EFF voted against Da Gama, showing how its new and national alliance with the ANC is already starting to kick in. Over the past fortnight, both the ANC and the EFF have talked about a voting alliance as the governing party faces a tough national election in 2024.  

The no-confidence motion against Da Gama succeeded with 136 votes to 132 against him, showing how tenuously held the city is for the DA-led coalition. The same motion was tabled against Phalatse, but programmers knocked it off the agenda over a technicality.  

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Five councillors for Cope, the IFP and ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) voted against their party mandates, and according to sources, they will be fired this week. Cope councillor Colleen Makhubele is the chair of chairs in the council. The chair of chairs becomes acting speaker during a sitting, where there’s no speaker. As it stands, given that there’s no deputy speaker, the secretary of council takes over the day-to-day functions and operations of council. The City Manager must in a reasonable time call a sitting to elect a new speaker.

Sources in the coalition said her party bosses were angry at her decision, but that party is in such turmoil that it’s unknown who can fire her. A party press conference erupted in violence on Wednesday. ActionSA chairperson Michael Beaumont said her new position is “like putting a wolf among sheep” because until she is fired, Makhubele can convene meetings and push agendas.

Wider strategy   

Da Gama is not the most popular speaker in a tough-to-manage coalition, which led to his axing. But the more extensive strategy is for the ANC to wrest back control of the council with the R77.3-billion budget.

Corruption and maladministration allegations levelled against DA-led administration in City of Joburg

The State Capture Commission witnessed how much money flowed from City contracts to the party’s regional coffers. It is also an essential symbolic city for the governing party because it includes Soweto, where the party has faced the most considerable drain of voters who either stayed away or turned to Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA as an alternative.  

Morero did not respond to requests for comment. This will be added as it becomes available. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • James Francis says:

    Anyone who lives in the city can see the absolute mismanagement and failure that the ANC. A return of the ANC will effectively complete Johannesburg’s ruin. And any political party that colludes with the ANC will be accessories to that downfall.

  • Anne Felgate says:

    All fighting for their spot in the trough
    To hell with the needs of the city and its people.
    Just when things were improving

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    This just shows how important it is to support the DA. Vote for some tiny new party and you do not know where your vote goes. This time it went to the ANC, probably not your first choice!

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    the ANC had JHB, they lost it, now they want it back again. not through the voters but by scheming, conniving methods which, of course, suits the EFF who have the morals of alley cats and the smaller parties wanting their snouts in the trough. the question is simple – where does the voter get his/her voice whilst this mob of liars and thieves jockey for position and loot?

  • Steven Burnett says:

    Unstable coalitions are going to sink us as nothing gets done.

  • Nan Jackson says:

    When will the ANC realize that until they can appoint people who know how to do the job they have been allocated to, the council will never be run cost nor maintenance efficiently!! The looting will jst carry on regardless.

  • R S says:

    EFF getting into bed with the ANC is a nightmare scenario, but wonder what their voters will think? The EFF gained many votes because they were ANTI-ANC, so now that they’re willing to support the ANC, this may lead to many voters going elsewhere (like ASA).

  • Johan Buys says:

    Take a step back and question why any city has 270 councillors in the first place! Other than being an extension of the party lists that land them there, what do they do = not being directly elected? They are not heads of functional service delivery departments, they are not technocrats. What is the bill for all the party political councillors in SA per year?

    • Mpumi Bikitsha says:

      We are at the mercy of 270 councillors who have no clue why they are there except getting to the trough. Such daylight robbery and we are helpless, to say the list.

  • Andrew W says:

    It’s not really about what the ANC wants ultimately, it’s about what the voter wants. The robber barons returning will hopefully see them banished by an informed electorate going foward

  • Ryckard Blake says:

    Having lost over a third of their 2016 voting support, the DA really had no moral right to head up Joburg’s governing coalition.
    A coalition depending for its success on support from rank opportunists like Gayton McKenzie’s latest gang and egoists like Mashaba, or on EFF NOT opposing them, was NEVER going to work for long.
    So; ’twas just a brief interruption in the continuing looting by the ANC.

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