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Panyaza Lesufi says ANC will ‘crush’ any attempt to remove Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda

Panyaza Lesufi says ANC will ‘crush’ any attempt to remove Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda
From left: Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu) | Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. (Photo: Gallo Images / Lubabalo Lesolle)

Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda is due to face a motion of no confidence brought by ActionSA over his failure to publicly address allegations of dodgy dealings. But the ANC’s Lesufi says, ‘We will crush that motion.’

Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda of the Al Jama-ah party will most likely survive the looming motion of no confidence against him scheduled to take place later this month.   

This is despite indications that the government of local unity is in trouble after ANC Gauteng chairperson Panyaza Lesufi told delegates at the party’s second annual local government summit that some of their coalition partners were treating the ANC badly.   

“One of our members of the local unity government asked our councillor in Ward 7 to resign. Just imagine, we are in coalition with you and you go and say to a member, someone you are running a government with, you must resign,” said Lesufi.

Ward 7 is in Finetown/Ennerdale in Johannesburg’s deep south: it recently held fiercely contested by-elections which saw the Patriotic Alliance emerge victorious after DA candidate Randell Markgraaff withdrew, allegedly after being offered R5-million by the PA. It was too late for the DA to nominate a replacement for Markgraaff.

Read more in Daily Maverick: PA benefits from absent DA to trounce ANC in Joburg ward, but ruling party records crucial win over IFP in KZN 

The by-election was held following the resignation of ANC ward councillor Amelia Zama, who was elected in the 2021 local government elections. She has since joined the PA. 

Johannesburg is home to six million residents. The city is struggling financially and its road infrastructure is collapsing. Rolling blackouts and water cuts that continue for days are now regular occurrences.  

Lesufi admits the coalition arrangement is far from perfect, but says they will “crush” any attempts to remove Gwamanda from the top job. 

The mayor is due to face a motion of no confidence brought by ActionSA over his failure to publicly address allegations of dodgy dealings two months into the job.  

“Where we stand now, in Johannesburg, we are unstoppable. Any motion against us, we will crush that motion,” said Lesufi.

The ANC, EFF and DA have indicated they would not vote in favour of the no-confidence motion. The parties hold 191 of the 270 council seats.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Delinquent’ Joburg mayor to deliver State of the City Address despite threat of motion of no confidence

Daily Maverick previously reported that Gwamanda had defended himself against the allegations. He was part of a company known as iThemba Lama Africa Funeral Scheme into which people reportedly channelled money at his behest. His party admitted the allegations were partially true.

Former mayor Thapelo Amad told Daily Maverick that he and Gwamanda were part of the scheme when they were “young and naive”. He said they assisted cash-strapped people from their own pockets with the burial of loved ones. When the group attempted to convert the NPO into a business, it failed.

However, ActionSA said the mayor had not addressed the allegations extensively and that should he fail to do so by Tuesday, it would sponsor a motion of no confidence.

“We cannot allow the economic capital of South Africa to be run by a mayor who is facing serious allegations of scamming residents of funeral insurance investments at a time when service delivery is on the decline across the city,” said ActionSA’s caucus leader, Funzi Ngobeni.

“Since his election in May, Gwamanda has consistently ducked from media opportunities to come clean over the serious allegations he is facing.”

Despite coming out in support, Lesufi clarified that Gwamanda was not an ANC mayor, but had attained the position due to the party’s attempts to dethrone the DA in several municipalities.

“Anyone who misleads you that the Joburg mayor is an ANC mayor is untrue. Everything we did was a vote against the DA… that is what we did. The current mayor is not the mayor of the ANC. He is a mayor who defeated the DA.”

Stern warming

Lesufi said the ANC in Gauteng would do everything in its power to keep the DA from running municipalities, and in cases where the coalition arrangement did not work, Lesufi said the party would not simply look on.

“We are not married to coalitions. Those that are in coalition with us must not think that we will watch when they corrupt our municipalities and do wrong things in our municipalities. We will reach a stage where singayi isusa noma inini.”

Lesufi outlined four non-negotiable areas the party would prioritise: job creation, crime prevention, provision of service delivery and putting an end to load shedding in the province.  

“Every municipality that is led by the ANC, together with provincial and national governments, must join hands to ensure that load shedding comes to an end in Gauteng.”

The local government summit continues on Wednesday. It is expected to debate the ANC’s coalition strategy as the country gears up for the 2024 national elections. DM

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  • Walter Spatula says:

    ANC arrogance as usual.

  • Dave Gould says:

    It fascinates me why the DA fights so hard, and wastes so much money, fighting in provinces that will always be dominated by fools. Why not just concentrate on making the Western Cape the very best it can be. And I don’t even live there, but it is beautiful to watch a well run province from the outside, in comparison with the rest of the junk.

    • Rob Glenister says:

      I’m almost inclined to agree with you. Certainly the part about “fools” is true.

    • Rob Glenister says:

      What would you expect, the man has a dodgy record that would make him an exemplary ANC member, so keep him in power.
      He’s bound to become useful to the ANC cause at some point, if not already.

  • Richard Baker says:

    The ANC will do anything to avoid looking bad and can’t bear the thought of others doing anything to improve the lives and prospects of their constituents and doing it better! For them self-preservation comes first-a hapless bunch of incompetent and corrupt wasters and destroyers!
    But why do people still vote for them?!!

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    The gardener in a suit spits vitriol yet again. I’m not sure the tone of his language is appropriate for a country on the cliff edge of civil unrest. But hey, why stop spouting revolutionary rhetoric just because you’ve been in power for 29 years, comrade?

  • T Mac says:

    Can someone please tell the mayor that you are supposed to remove the label from your jacket sleeve?

  • Patrick Devine says:

    And Lesufi certainly can ‘CRUSH’!

    Lesufi ‘crushed’ R430 000 000.00 in just the 1st 60 days of the Covid lockdown – ‘cleaning’ empty schools (hahaha).

    The western Cape spent R3 000 000 doing the same thing in 6th months.

    I just wish the SIU would ‘crush’ this.

  • William Dryden says:

    Lesufi says his party the ANC will not watch while members of the coalition corrupt their municipalities and do wrong things?? But hasn’t the ANC been corrupting and mismanaging their municipalities for the last 25 years or am I missing something here.

  • carollyn says:

    Why is Panyasa Lesufi, the Gauteng Provincial Premier operating as the spokesperson for the Johannesburg Mayor? Premier Lesufi is at pains to stand as the official mouthpiece of the City of Johannesburg. Surely he is operating outside of his constitutional mandate? Gauteng Province is not mandated to run the City of Johannesburg.

  • Grant Turnbull says:

    Just tell the truth – he is a stooge who has no education and can be bullied into submission by Lesufi and Morero so that his simple brain cant figure out what mischief they are up to. Not everyone is as stupid as Lesufi thinks.

  • James Francis says:

    ANC disregards the people and votes for greed and autocratic rule. No news here.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    The bizarre thing is, it’s not: “We want to be the best we can be for the South African people and so we will ensure that he is properly investigated. And if impropriety is discovered we will remove him ourselves – we don’t need other parties to force good governance on us.”

    Rather it is: “Don’t bring us this honesty and integrity nonsense – we don’t care because we’re the ANC.”

    Sad for everyone in our country.

  • Gerrie Pretorius says:

    I really suggest that all political parties stopped working AGAINST one another, but rather FOR service delivery to the citizens of each municipality.

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