South Africa

JOBURG COUNCIL CRISIS

Mayor Mpho Phalatse heads to court to halt motion of no confidence against her

Mayor Mpho Phalatse heads to court to halt motion of no confidence against her
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse. (Photo: Guillem Sartorio / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The head of the Joburg Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse will be on the chopping block at the council meeting scheduled for Friday, 30 September. However, she has now filed court papers with the intention to have the sitting declared invalid.

ActionSA National Chair Michael Beaumont told Daily Maverick that while the relationship between his party and the DA has been turbulent, it has still chosen to help Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse beat the motion of no confidence against her.

“We are doing it for the sake of residents and to keep stability in the City of Joburg. But we must say that ActionSA is undergoing a serious review on how we handle coalitions,” Beaumont said.

Daily Maverick understands that a programming meeting was held at 4pm on Thursday where the no-confidence motion sponsored by the ANC was approved.

The coalition will need at least 136 votes to ensure that Phalatse is not removed, but this is not possible without the backing of the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

The row within the coalition led to the PA voting with the opposition in the City of Joburg which saw Congress of the People’s (Cope’s) Colleen Makhubele clinching the Speaker position on Wednesday, 28 September.

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?

Just after the news of her possible ousting, Phalatse penned an open letter where she ruled out the possibility of resigning: “Over the last few days, there have been calls for my resignation, pending the tabling of a motion of confidence in me, and by extension the entire Executive of the city. I will not be resigning… This is not about me or political parties, this is about you, the 6-million residents of the city, who will ultimately suffer should this multi-party government be dissolved through a motion of confidence in the Executive Mayor.

“As we speak, there are nefarious actors working to urgently convene a meeting of council to dissolve the multi-party government and subsequently elect what can best be described as a corrupt cabal that will masquerade as a government. Their only focus will be to empty the city’s coffers, stop service delivery and collapse the city,” it reads.

The fallout between coalition partners

ActionSA is part of the multiparty coalition in the city and has been at the forefront of suggesting that the agreement between parties be reconfigured to allow the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) to occupy the Speaker position in Johannesburg’s council. Daily Maverick understands that the same sentiments were shared by other coalition partners, namely the Freedom Front Plus, IFP, African Christian Democratic Party, Cope and United Independent Movement.

The position has been vacant since the removal of Vasco Da Gama through a motion of no confidence. 

However, DA Federal Council chair Helen Zille refused any changes being made in a letter she sent to the coalition technical task team on Sunday. 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.

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

The coalition partners then held a virtual meeting on Sunday night where they vented their frustrations about the matter to DA leader John Steenhuisen. 

Zille’s letter prompted the PA to abandon the coalition and vote with the opposition to install Cope’s Colleen Makhubele.

The DA then took to social media on Thursday to accuse ActionSA, the PA and Cope of making “vitriolic” and “false claims” about the failure of the Johannesburg coalition to elect a council Speaker. They went on to accuse ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba of being a liar.

“In particular, it beggars belief that Herman Mashaba, whose party initiated the entire process by violating the coalition agreement to call for the renegotiation of previously agreed-upon positions, claims to be a victim of arrogance and bullying. The scale of Mashaba’s dishonesty in triggering the process and then seeking to blame the DA, raises a credible suspicion that he is actively undermining the coalition to score cheap political points.

“Voters need to take heed that a party that cannot even be trusted to uphold a signed and sealed deal, is a party that cannot be trusted — period. In an attempt to clean up the mess Mashaba created, the Coalition Task Team met last night to agree on a united communications plan. However, true to form, Mashaba immediately violated that agreement this morning when ASA went on a tirade trying to lay the blame at the door of the DA,” the tweets read.

However, Beaumont hit back, saying that the DA does not believe in co-governance but instead wants to govern alone with the support of others. He goes on to outline how the IFP has been underrepresented as far as positions in the coalition are concerned. DM

UPDATE on Friday 9.15am: The City of Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse is fighting for her survival. Just hours before she was supposed to face a motion of no confidence, she compiled an urgent interdict saying that, the programming meeting that tabled the motion of no confidence had not reached a quorum and that notices of meeting do not comply with the Municipal Structures Act.

In the documents, which are yet to be filed with the High Court in Johannesburg, Phalatse states that procedures were not followed to call the programming meeting and that some members of the committee were notified at the very last minute.

“The definition of quorum means a total of 50% plus one of elected  councillors. As set out above, the programming committee consists of 14 councillors. Thus at least 8 councillors had to be present for the meeting to quorate. That did not happen and I am advised that the meeting could not adopt any valid resolutions. There are thus no valid items before the council meeting,” Phalatse’s submissions said. 

She notes that at least three days’ notice should have been given regarding the council sitting. 

“I submit that in the circumstances the notice of the meeting is invalid and the meeting itself is invalid as the items ended to be considered not completely before it,” the documents read. DM

 

 

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  • David C says:

    It’s mind blowing to me that parties like the the IFP, which received less than 47,000 votes in Joburg (out of 1.9m votes) feel they deserve a significant leadership role, compared to the senior coalition partner (the DA) who received 483,000 votes. It should be clear to everyone now that these mickey-mouse parties have zero interest in residents, but are 100% focussed on obtaining salaried positions on the tax-payers’ dime and trying by every possible means to shove their voracious snouts in the public money trough.

  • Hiram C Potts says:

    Fiddling while Jo’burg burns & screw the residents!
    Each party with their own self-serving agendas; power plays, corruption, larceny, duplicity, dishonesty & all scrapping over the ever-diminishing spoils of a collapsing city.

    Read & weep, a preview of what coalition politics in SA will look like come 2024.

  • Paul Zille says:

    Voters take heed. “… a party that cannot even be trusted to uphold a signed and sealed deal, is a party that cannot be trusted”. Simple.
    How many times in the last few months has ActionSA reneged on the coalition agreement? At what cost to stable governance in joburg?

    • John Smythe says:

      Read the entire article. Mashaba is abiding by the alliance despite Zille’s pot-stirring and Steenhiuzen’s “Yes Ma’am”. Take a look at the parties in the alliance and find the traitor: Democratic Alliance, ActionSA, Inkatha Freedom Party, Freedom Front Plus, Patriotic Alliance, Congress of the People and African Christian Democratic Party. All reasonable, middle of the road and sensible and practical parties bar one. You make a deal with the devil and he owns you.

      • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

        Three DA former councillors in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro have been arrested for corruption with the ANC Regional Secretary. It is said you must not throw stones whilst in a glass house. In Cape Town the DA is paying to defend with public money its councillor charged with corruption. They can mislead fools. The Mayor must allow the processes to unfold. The coalition agreement is both illegal and unconstitutional as it interferes with councillors in their work and those disciplined by the IFP , ACDP and FF plus can lay criminal charges for interference with a councillors work and can take DA statements and letters as evidence. Zille will then know the law and the constitution as she is ignorant!

        • R S says:

          “Three DA former councillors in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro have been arrested for corruption with the ANC Regional Secretary.”

          As a party grows in size, those who join will not always have the people’s best interests at heart. This is clear with these three individuals since they turned on their own party for money.

          ” In Cape Town the DA is paying to defend with public money its councillor charged with corruption. They can mislead fools.”

          The mayor has explained this. If she loses, she has to pay back the money.

          “The coalition agreement is both illegal and unconstitutional as it interferes with councillors in their work and those disciplined by the IFP , ACDP and FF plus can lay criminal charges for interference with a councillors work and can take DA statements and letters as evidence. ”

          If this was truly the case, why did these parties sign it? If they were ignorant of it’s illegality then that’s not a good thing either.

          • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

            You have the DA calling for ANC MPs to vote with their conscience. The DA and ANC are attempting to investigate “threats” against Advocate Mpofu in terms of the law. The only thing is that rules of parliament do not apply in the quasi – judicial process. The reasons they signed an agreement was an advice from legal plumbers and the idea came from Zille. When you become a public representative you cease to be bound by any party considerations but by the Constitution and the law with few exceptions. You must read the Nkandla judgement. The power parties have over proportional councillors is that they can remove them after three months denying them a livelihood but they cannot remove them for exercising their duties as it is a criminal offence in terms of the Municipal Act and the Constitution. You cannot remove a councillor for voting in a particular way and expressly say so.

  • John Smythe says:

    If all this bickering and nit-picking in a coalition government for a mere city is a sign of things to come, then things aren’t looking good for the stability of a national coalition in 2024. And the ANC and its fascist minion will continue to have aspirations of bringing SA completely to its knees. The future of our country’s leadership is in a sad state now and may be for many years to come. We’ll be like Italy with thugs, fools and owns as presidents and parliamentary leaders. Zille and McKenzie seem to have forgotten all the instability the floor-crossing days cause after the 1994 elections. Effectively, McKenzie has done the same thing in Jhb. The parties can’t keep flipping and flopping between alliances. Thank goodness that the only person with a sense of maturity at this point is Mashaba… despite his spat with Zille.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    This comment deserves to be repeated…..

    “Voters take heed. “… a party that cannot even be trusted to uphold a signed and sealed deal, is a party that cannot be trusted”. Simple.
    How many times in the last few months has ActionSA reneged on the coalition agreement? At what cost to stable governance in Joburg?”

    PS – I capitalized “joburg”! Joburg deserves it.

  • Malcolm Mitchell says:

    As a person who has supported the DA in its different forms during the past 60 years, and also having been an election agent for them, I must express my disappointment at their lack magnanimity in not giving the IFP who helped them gain Jhb, the Speaker’s post.

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