At the heart of a chaotic Tshwane council meeting on Thursday was the battle for the power to decide on the sequence in which the four motions of no confidence would be heard.
The special council meeting was held after the ANC and EFF petitioned Speaker Katlego Mathebe.
On the agenda was four motions of no confidence against the mayor, speaker, acting speaker and chair of chairs.
However, none of the motions was heard as the council spent most of the day fighting over the sequence of the motions.
According to the agenda, set up by Mathebe, the motion against Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa was supposed to be heard first, followed by acting speaker Zweli Khumalo, the chair of chairs and lastly against Mathebe.
Both the ANC and EFF were unhappy about the sequence of the motions and argued they should be able to set the sequence as they had petitioned for the meeting to be held in the first place.
Mathebe stonewalled this request, as well as multiple requests for her to recuse herself, to make way for a Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs official to take control of the sitting.
The ANC believed Mathebe’s sequence of the motions was to allow herself to preside over the first three motions with the intention of blocking them.
“She was going to do that [block the motions]. Her first intention that demonstrated that was for her to change the agenda,” ANC chief whip Aaron Maluleka told media.
“She changed the agenda so that she can preside over all the motions, kick the three motions [out] and request the acting speaker to kick the motion that she must face.”
Maluleka said this was a clear indication she had every intention to refuse the motions from being put to a vote.
DA Gauteng leader John Moodey refuted this, saying the speaker was tasked to draft the agenda according to standard practice.
“The speaker officiates over any motions or items until such time that it comes to any item that the speaker is conflicted by, then the speaker recuses himself or herself,” Moodey said.
He also questioned why the ANC and EFF had not put the motions to the test to see if Mathebe would block them.
Moodey instead argued the ANC and EFF were unsure of their numbers and if their motions would be successful.
As ANC and EFF councillors argued with the speaker, the council was disrupted on several occasions.
After a lot of back and forth, a party caucus was called. During the break, a scuffle broke out between ANC councillors and the chief of staff in the speaker’s office.
Once the meeting was back in session, chaos erupted again with several councillors shouting at Mathebe.
She then ordered that EFF councillor Obakeng Ramabodu be removed from the meeting. The ANC and EFF caucus protested the removal and broke out in song.
While Ramabodu was not removed, Mathebe warned she would not continue with the meeting until he had left.
A second caucus meeting was called for and granted.
Shortly after councillors returned from the second caucus break, the ANC and EFF vented their frustration at Mathebe’s handling of the council and staged a walkout.
Following the walkout, there was no quorum in council and the meeting was postponed.
The ANC insisted it would be reporting Mathebe to the department to have her handling of the council investigated.
“We wanted a lawful meeting and she refused. She continued displaying partisanship in the approach of the meeting,” Maluleka said.