South Africa


Blow to Joburg DA as Patriotic Alliance helps install Cope’s Colleen Makhubele as council Speaker

Blow to Joburg DA as Patriotic Alliance helps install Cope’s Colleen Makhubele as council Speaker
Newly elected speaker of the Johannesburg City Council Colleen Makhubele. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle)

The Patriotic Alliance’s decision to vote with the opposition in the City of Joburg has left the DA in an even more vulnerable position after the party’s candidate for Speaker was defeated by Congress of the People’s Colleen Makhubele.

The DA was left with egg on its face after losing an election battle for the position of Speaker in the City of Johannesburg council to opposition parties on Wednesday. Cope councillor Colleen Makhubele beat the DA’s chair of chairs Alex Christians, who was the candidate for the multiparty coalition government. 

This was possible because the Patriotic Alliance (PA) supported the opposition, consisting of the ANC, EFF, Cope, ATM, UIM, Al Jama-ah, AIC, Good, AHC, PAC and ATM. The PA has eight seats in the Joburg council — enough to give Makhubele the win with 141 votes, while the coalition garnered 129 votes.

The PA issued a statement after the council meeting explaining that it had already informed coalition partners of its intention not to support Christians because of the DA’s “arrogance”.

In a letter, the PA said it felt “disrespected” and had been threatened with legal action by the DA.

“Although today will be a secret ballot, it is not our style to leave things to the imagination. Due to the disrespect shown to us by the DA during this period, which we could just as easily call a moment of truth for all of us, we will not be supporting their candidate for Speaker.

“The legalistic threats from the DA of attempting to enforce the rules of contract law and pursuing ‘consequences’ for violations of contract law are laughable at best and deeply insulting of our intelligence at worst; hence I am telling you openly that you do not have our support today. If you wish to go to court on this, feel free,” the letter reads.

The coalition has shown cracks in the past month which led to the ousting of City of Joburg Speaker Vasco da Gama. Makhubele, with five councillors who are members of the City of Joburg multiparty coalition, voted to remove Da Gama.

Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse’s future also hangs in the balance as she faces a no-confidence vote, sponsored by the ANC.

Zille rejects power-sharing in Gauteng metros

DA Federal Council Chair Helen Zille on Sunday sent a letter to the coalition technical task team in which she refused the agreement’s reconfiguration to allow the Speaker to be a member of one of the smaller political parties. This was a suggestion made not only for the City of Joburg, but also Ekurhuleni and Tshwane. The current agreement between parties states that both the mayor and Speaker should come from the DA.

“The DA, following serious consideration at the Federal Executive, rejects any proposal to reconfigure coalition governments,” the letter reads.

Zille said the reconfiguration of the agreement would lead to the destabilising of the city and shift the focus from the primary goal of the coalition, which was to deliver services to residents.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “DA coalition partner says Da Gama had to go to balance City of Joburg power dynamics  

“First, as a matter of political consideration, any reopening of negotiations regarding government configuration will introduce significant uncertainty and delays in municipal government and service delivery. The current government configuration is a result of weeks, and in some cases, months of negotiations. The municipalities concerned are hotly contested and governed in tumultuous political conditions.

“To disturb the current functionality of these municipalities, only to appease political ambitions, could undermine months of hard work, undertaken by all parties, to achieve a functioning government in these municipalities,” she said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Was Zuma right that the ANC will rule forever or can the opposition parties get it together to form a coalition government in 2024?

She further wrote that legal implications could arise as a consequence of not abiding by the coalition agreement.

“All parties to the agreement are bound by clause 5.5 and Annexure C. The proposals aired on 19 and 20 September 2022 intend to contradict and contravene clause 5.5 and Annexure C. Parties agreed to how political appointments were to be made during negotiations. The proposals contradict this. They intend to reconfigure the government after the conclusion of negotiations on the coalition agreement. Parties seeking to do this intend to go back on their word.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • R S says:

    The DA must stick to their guns. Let the criminals and the cheap politics of the stomach take the city back until the next elections, and when the milk is spilt and everyone is crying, the DA can come back and sort it out.

  • The cities in gauteng are not working, since the last local election, they are crawling along because there isnt a balance of power in the coalition. If Zille took the time to be in Gauteng, she would understand this better.

  • John Smythe says:

    I’m not worried. She won’t last long.

  • Mike Blackburn says:

    disappointing again that the DA agenda held up by minor parties who wield influence they don’t deserve. the only winner is the ANC and once again the residents will suffer under the criminal ANC

  • Sheda Habib says:

    Helen Zille must get out of politics.
    The DA will always need Action SA and I hope they can temper their arrogance enough to see that.
    They have made Herman their number one enemy, they have lost focus on the real issues.

    • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

      This is a valid point and the DA does not see it because they remain miffed that Mashaba has formed a party that has attracted a lot of former leaders of the DA. Helen Zille does not even see or analyse the Patriotic Alliance in the Western Cape where they are fighting for control of minorities votes in particular the so – called coloured vote in various municipalities. Helen Zille
      would her a world of good to read Mahmood Madani’s book: Neither a Settler nor a Native. The DA risks being a smaller minnow in next elections and the rise of new parties if they keep being rigid. Also, Helen Zille must know that Gauteng is not the Western Cape and the factors that propelled the DA in the Western Cape are different or do not exist in Gauteng, hence the instability of the coalitions led by the DA in Gauteng. In the end, ActionSA will see that it is in their interest to be out of the relationship with the DA if they are to grow.

    • R S says:

      “Their arrogance”. Spends months negotiating agreements. All parties sign agreements. Months later some parties decide to change their minds without sorting it out within coalition structures but by basically saying “our word is worth nothing”.

  • James Francis says:

    Politicians fiddling while Joburg burns.

  • Rg Bolleurs says:

    What wonderful news for the citizens of joburg. Now we too can have ecoli in our tap water

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Helen Zille has got it all wrong. I am not a lawyer but as far as I know the SA Constitution gets priority above any contract law; and the Constitution demands that councillors put their understanding of what their communities want above even what their own party wants, let alone a coalition of party leaders. And she has this obsession with “service delivery”; not that there is anything wrong with that, but eventually other values are important too. For instance governments basically exist not for service delivery, but for keeping their citizens safe. And her attitude is most probably reminding most of SA’s citizens of the old apartheid governments attitude, which threatened their safety. Now she again makes threats; what did she think is going to happen? She should be careful; the same could happen in all the other metro’s also.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    It is important to note that service delivery is only one, and not even the most important one, of the reasons why governments exist. Governments’ first priority should be to see that the citizens/residents are feeling safe. This is not achieved by issueing threats and trying to play bullying tactics. This is one reason why I left the DA too 18 years ago, and it clearly is still the same. As long as the DA does not understand what government is all about, they are no use as a positive alternative government.

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