Mayor Solly Msimanga walked out of one of the most intense Tshwane council meetings since the Democratic Alliance (DA) administration took over with a smirk on his face as the motion of no confidence tabled against him took an unexpected turn yesterday.
And while he seemed unfazed by the attempts to oust him, he has warned Tshwane residents not to allow themselves to become pawns in the opposition’s attempts to see the back of him.
ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) members had been singing around the block of Sammy Marks Square yesterday morning, confident that their plan would succeed – to oust Msimanga in a motion of no confidence, tabled by the two parties.
Their confidence stemmed from the numbers in council, which showed that should the EFF and ANC vote together against Msimanga, they would topple the DA councillors and their allies.
But it seemed Msimanga’s administration had an ace up their sleeve. The EFF had made a blunder in their motion submission.
DA councillor and MMC of economic development, Randall Williams, pointed out that the EFF had not submitted a written motivation as to why their motion was urgent. According to the rules and orders of council, all motivations should be in writing.
This prompted speaker Katlego Mathebe to disallow the red berets’ motion, stating it was not up to the standards of the council’s rules.
But the ANC came to the defence of the EFF, requesting Mathebe to allow for an oral motivation, since the urgent application was made within the required time-frame of two hours before the sitting.
Mathebe, however, stood her ground. “The motion is disallowed. It did not comply,” she said.
Her ruling led to all the EFF councillors walking out, vowing to challenge Mathebe’s “unfair” ruling in court.
The red berets have promised they would ensure Msimanga is removed from his seat, but according to council rules, they can only do so after a 90-day grace period.
“We are going to demonstrate and make sure we take the speaker to court. We are going to make sure to write the motion again, so at the next council, it can happen.”
The ANC, however, had initially tried to withdraw their own motion, but it remained on the council agenda for the upcoming sitting next month, as council had not reached a quorum after the EFF’s walk-out.
Newly-elected Tshwane ANC leader, Kgosi Maepa, who was sworn in as a councillor yesterday, said they were trapped by the speaker.
Mathebe allegedly had the same plan for the ANC’s motion which was revealed to them during the lunch break, Maepa said.
“We got information during lunch that in fact, the next motion to be shot down due to technicalities, was the motion of the ANC. We must be given a constitutional right to vote. Councillors of the DA themselves said the motion by ANC was well motivated.”
But Msimanga was not fazed.
He said he would not spend time worrying about party politics as he has to deliver services to the residents of Tshwane. However, he heard of a plan was in motion to leave the city ungovernable.
“There are plans to ensure certain things are sabotaged. We want to plead with our people, don’t allow yourself to be used for petty party politics.”