POWER GRAB MISFIRE
Joburg coalition partners angry with Al Jama-ah for defending mayor’s R9.5-billion loan comments
Al Jama-ah has backed its councillor Thapelo Amad after growing calls for him to be booted out as City of Joburg Executive Mayor.
Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks has defended City of Joburg Executive Mayor Thapelo Amad’s statements about the prospect of a R9.5-billion loan to boost the cash flow of the cash-strapped city. He alleged there have been deliberate attempts to smear Amad.
Hendricks said the purported R9.5-billion deal had not yet been finalised, which makes it unacceptable that Amad is receiving flak.
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Hendricks particularly singled out SABC News journalist Sakina Kamwendo, who he alleges has tried to make Amad look incompetent, an allegation that was labelled “preposterous” by the SABC’s Moshoeshoe Monare.
In an interview on SABC’s MorningLive, which is hosted by Kamwendo, Amad said he had attended a meeting last week in which he secured a prospect for a R9.5-billion loan to be used to improve service delivery and build a smart city.
There has since been a backlash against his statement, with the city’s Finance MMC Dada Morero stating that he has no knowledge of this deal.
Hendricks claimed that “Sakina and the influencer who complained about the potholes — are hell-bent on him (Amad) not making a success of the position.”
The public broadcaster’s Group Executive for News and Current Affairs Moshoeshoe Monare, hit back at Hendricks’ “preposterous” allegations.
“Such preposterous insinuations are levelled against every journalist probing the powerful. Sakina is doing her job as a journalist to hold the powerful accountable,” he said.
Explaining Amad’s comments Hendricks said: “Quite a number of investors have approached the administration and offered financial assistance and short-term loans. One of these offers was R9-billion to assist the city. He was just mentioning it. But obviously, the person in charge of finances was not in on the discussions. However, there is no loan, just a number of offers coming in,” according to Hendricks.
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On Monday, Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie took to social media to express his disappointment in Amad. The PA is one of the parties which partnered with the ANC and EFF to remove the DA’s Mpho Phalatse, and then vote in Amad to lead Joburg.
Responding to a video of Amad’s interview with the SABC, McKenzie tweeted “This is really embarrassing, what is the Mayor saying? What loan? Where & when was this discussed? Which company is giving this loan? We cannot continue defending such stupidity; we must admit that we played a part in this mess, we must fix our mistake soonest.
“We must put the citizens of Joburg first and admit we have backed the wrong horse. Thapelo Amad has been asked to climb a mountain too high for him. It’s not just harming Joburg, it’s destroying him too. We will rectify this blunder. Amad should resign now. We apologise profusely.”
ANC Gauteng Secretary Thembinkosi “TK” Nciza told Daily Maverick that if there are any challenges in the City of Johannesburg it would be better for them to be resolved between the coalition partners instead of running to the media.
“The minority parties have the right to have an opinion on the matter. Whether it is an individual or collective, there will always be challenges in government. It should not be so easy to wake up and call for the removal of a person, but if there are challenges, the first step would be to meet and see if we cannot resolve the issue,” Nciza said.
ActionSA on Tuesday 11 April submitted a motion of no confidence against Amad, Speaker Colleen Makhubele of COPE, and the GOOD party’s Lloyd Phillips.
We have submitted Motions of No Confidence in the City of Joburg puppet-mayor Thapelo Amad, the dishonest Speaker Colleen Makhubele and the Council’s Chair of Chairs.
To restore good governance and service delivery in the City, we must remove the ANC & their minions from power. pic.twitter.com/yoZprUj83I
— ActionSA (@Action4SA) April 11, 2023
ActionSA Joburg caucus spokesperson Sthembile Majola believes that it is worrying that after three months in office, Amad is still not able to articulate his plans for the city. He said that while Amad’s ousting would disrupt work done in the city, residents deserve better leadership.
“The people who are pulling strings are the EFF and ANC. He became the mayor as a result of them not being able to decide who will get the position,” he said.
The programming meeting which will decide whether the motion will be debated is scheduled for next week. DM