South Africa

METRO SCUFFLE

EFF and ANC come to blows in Ekurhuleni amid service delivery questions

EFF and ANC come to blows in Ekurhuleni amid service delivery questions
Chaotic scenes at the Ekurhuleni council meeting on Thursday, 29 February 2024. (Photo: Screengrab)

The Ekurhuleni metropolitan could soon find itself without an executive mayor as tensions between the ANC and EFF turn violent. Incumbent executive mayor Sivuyile Ngodwana is now considering whether or not to resign.

“The ANC and EFF need to sit down and review their coalition  agreement. They should ask themselves if the coalition arrangement is really working and make a decision… If they can’t make a decision, I will make a decision,” Executive mayor Sivuyile Ngodwana told Daily Maverick on Friday, 1 March 2024, after a scuffle between the two parties broke out on Thursday, 29 February.

This was the latest incident to hit the metro during an ordinary council meeting that was scheduled to debate an ActionSA sponsored motion of no confidence against incumbent Ngodwana, among other items.   

Ngodwana, who is from the AIC party, made the remarks as tension between the ANC and EFF affected critical service delivery functions, and councillors feared liquidity issues that could cost the municipality its clean audit status.   

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cracks continue to appear in ANC/EFF Ekurhuleni coalition over state of city’s finances 

The situation has become dire, so much that the DA, which sits in the opposition benches, is calling for the dissolution of council as it believes that the municipality is unable to fulfil its executive obligations in terms of the Constitution.   

Before the motion could be debated, an amendment was being discussed which saw the EFF request a 30-minutes caucus break, but they remained in the chambers. Shortly after this, the meeting descended into chaos, EFF councillors started heckling, throwing bottles of water around, and fist fights predominantly between ANC and EFF members.   

Reflecting on the events of the council meeting, Ngodwana said, “What happened is something I am not proud of, I am disappointed and embarrassed.” 

Scenes in Ekurhuleni on 29 February 2024. (Photo: Screengrab)

Thoughts on the sidelines

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the chaotic meeting, ANC Gauteng Secretary TK Nciza expressed shock at anarchy displayed by the EFF.   

This, as he confirmed the ANC would support the motion against Ngodwana, due to his shortcomings — this is despite the fact that ANC was instrumental in Ngodwana’s election to the top position. 

In supporting the motion, Nciza said he was not oblivious to the fact that it would further strain the duo’s relationship. “I guess we have to put our people first as the ANC. We have been talking to them, we have been whispering in their ears, especially the regional leadership…” 

Nciza further argued, “The arrogance that has been displayed by the leaders of the EFF in Ekurhuleni for the longest of time was really not assisting the municipality.    

Despite being in a coalition, he said the ANC would not sit back and look on while residents suffer. “We can’t subject the people of Ekurhuleni to such conditions because there is a gun to our heads.” 

EFF’s ‘hunger to hold onto power’ 

Meanwhile, the DA’s Tania Campbell — who was previously the executive mayor, and removed from the same position through a motion of no confidence — also decried the EFF’s behaviour, which it labelled as undemocratic. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ekurhuleni: DA’s Tania Campbell removed, AIC’s Sivuyile Ngodwana elected as new mayor

“The violent collapse of the council by the EFF demonstrates their hunger to continue to hold onto power and have access to the city’s coffers at any cost. A motion of no confidence is a fair democratic process, but the thuggery demonstrated by the EFF showcases that they have no desire to participate in democracy and will resort to whatever means necessary to keep their EFF puppet mayor in power so that they can continue to loot at the expense of service delivery to residents.  

The EFF’s Gauteng leader Nkululeko Dunga could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.    

Collapse of council meeting

Following the collapse of the council meeting, the DA said it would use all channels available to it to ensure that the council sits again and that the motion is debated.  

“Unfortunately, political self-interests and personal egos took priority over residents’ needs. We believe the only way forward for the City of Ekurhuleni is to go to fresh elections,” Campbell said.   

Ngodwana was however against the suggestion of fresh elections. “The DA is just grandstanding. If we agree to that, we would still go back to the very instability, which is not going to assist the residents. The only way out of the chaos of the metro is if the ANC and EFF iron out their issues,” he suggested.   

“What we need to do is that, those parties that are in coalition, they must sit down and agree on terms of reference or how they are going to work.”  

This is however unlikely as the relationship between the ANC and EFF has had cracks in the relationship for a while.  

In June 2023, the council’s chief whip, ANC regional chairperson Jongizizwe  Dlabathi, penned a letter to the ANC’s provincial leadership, asking that it reconsider the coalition.  

He warned that the ANC was at risk of losing its support base to the EFF if the coalition remained in place. 

Little or nothing was done by the leadership. While the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) has supported abandoning its coalitions with the EFF, the Gauteng ANC is reportedly reluctant to act.

In January, Daily Maverick reported that there were fears that the metro could lose its clean audit outcome status. 

Ekurhuleni’s recent history

Ekurhuleni is the only metro other than Cape Town that received a clean audit from the Auditor-General in 2022/23. However, opposition parties say this does not reflect the reality and point to a worsening service delivery and financial situation.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cracks continue to appear in ANC/EFF Ekurhuleni coalition over state of city’s finances 

The metro, a key contributor to the economy of Gauteng and South Africa, was under the control of a DA-led coalition after the 2021 local government elections. In 2022, a marriage between the ANC, EFF and their allies saw a strong partnership in the council, with a total of 117 seats against the DA’s coalition with 94 seats. The ANC and EFF embarked on a takeover of other metros, including Johannesburg, which the ANC lost to a DA-led coalition in 2021.

The ANC and the EFF each took control of five service delivery portfolios, with the EFF holding the crucial portfolio of finance, which is headed by Dunga.   

The multiparty was due to meet on Friday afternoon to discuss a way forward. Ngodwana was unfazed by the possibility of being removed through a motion of no-confidence.   

“Whether I survive or not, the important thing is that we need to ensure that we put the residents of Ekurhuleni first and don’t bring about instability… I remain ready to serve the residents, with or without being a mayor.” DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • eish Effedup says:

    They are fighting over the loot

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    These are our leaders?

    Not even sure why I’m asking actually, as the only possible answer is:

    No, these people are not leaders, they are just the embarrassing clowns killing our country for everyone in it.

  • Gary De Sousa says:

    Why should we pay for rubbish in the chambers.
    It looks like palistein in the uk councils

  • Hari Seldon says:

    I dont know how anyone in their right mind could vote for the EFF or ANC in the elections. The EFF promises a lot but delivers chaos, anarchy and bullying in all the metros it has a considerable power. Look what’s happing in Gqeberha as well … and Knysna … and

  • Iam Fedup says:

    True thoughts, values and behaviours of ANC/EFF exposing themselves. We are governed by a bunch of barbaric thugs beating each other with baseball bats. Free at last, Mr. Mandela?

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    “Put the residents of Ekurhuleni first” hahaha.

  • Robert Pegg says:

    What has happened to the officials who are actually paid to run a Municipality ? These people who call themselves Councilors should be there to rubber stamp what paid officials recommend. The role of Councilors is not to be in charge of the day to day service delivery issues. They have been allowed too much power and should be brought back into line.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Ngodwana says the ANC and EFF must sit down and iron out their differences. He can’t be serious; when things break down to the point of fist fights and bottle throwing this state of affairs will never be resolved. Does he not realise that the EFF has only one aim in life. Get control of the metros and then loot the banks accounts (ala VBS Bank), and hand tenders out to buddies as was the case wherever Julius Malema had a position of 0power. The DA, despite their short comings is the only hope for this country.

  • Tothe Point says:

    Yet again the ANC and EFF providing another example of how democracy (bush) should work. It reaffirms my belief that these parties and their supporters are hopelessly out of their depth with regard to understanding, applying and promoting even a modicum of modern democratic principles. They only pay, like most of Africa, lip service to democracy. They do this to look clever.

  • Glyn Fogell says:

    And the EFF want to be taken seriously as a party fit to govern? In their dreams!

  • Citizen X says:

    Several issues here however as an Ekurhuleni resident and taxpayer I would like to know more about dissolving the administration of our Metro. I think its up to us to manage our Metro. Cannot continue like this and there are constitutional breaches at every level. Anybody who knows please share your expertise because the time is NOW!!!

  • John P says:

    The EFF are doing exactly what their leader encourages them to do. Julius should be charged with incitement and hate speech and locked away for 5 years.

  • A Voice says:

    One in black, yellow and green jumps out of a ‘nazi convoy’, sorry slip of the tongue, a blue light brigade and stomps on the citizenry of our beloved country. Another, in red, jumps up and stomps on desks in the halls of democratic management, effectively, again, stomping on the citizenry of our beloved country.
    Politicians, counselors, parliamentary members, you have not been called to lead, you have been called to serve. And lest you be overcome by moments of passion, conviction, lack of self control, greed, immaturity etc; to remind you, you have been called to serve the citizenry of South Africa, not your own agenda.
    Does it not register with you, that compared to 30 years ago, there is not much left over of our beloved South Africa. Is it perhaps a foreseeable possibility that if this type of behaviour continues unabated, that you just may end up as leaders – leaders of mocking manifestos and ash heaps. I, no rather I say, ‘we as the citizenry of our beloved South Africa, ask you to change your ways and put South Africa first.

    • P C Hem says:

      Can you imagine what SA will be like in 25 or 50 years. I think that you just need to look at Zimbabwe to see your answer, but possibly 10 times more violence.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Fighting over the scraps they cant get their hands on like rabid dogs! Useless people!

  • John Patson says:

    Did anyone ever think the EEF (nationalist, far left rhetoric, populist leader, whole cadre living very well off politics,) would ever gel with the ANC (nationalist, far left rhetoric, unpopular leader but piggy backing on tyrant Putin/terrorists Hamas, whole cadre living very well off politics)?
    If they gelled too well the arguments for a merger would be strong. With conflict the status quo is kept and you have twice as much chance to make money out of politics.

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