A seemingly unfazed City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says it is up to the parties that elected him into power to retain him as mayor.
He was speaking at a media briefing held at the DA’s Bruma headquarters on Saturday, following the party’s two-day federal executive committee meeting. The City of Joburg mayor, speaker of council Vasco Da Gama and the council’s chief whip Kevin Wax are facing a motion of no confidence brought against them by the ANC in council.
“On the 22nd August 2016 I was elected by just 52% of council. The ANC voted against me, so I am not a mayor of the city of Johannesburg at the behest of the ANC, so if anyone has to vote me out, it is the parties that voted me in as executive mayor, and I will leave it to them to really decide,” said Mashaba.
The ANC, which lost power following a dismal showing during the August 2016 local government polls, said it was tabling this motion because Mashaba and the DA were bringing financial ruin to South Africa’s economic hub and had to be removed.
Mashaba reminded journalists that he had always said he was not interested in the job just so he could be mayor but he took it up in order to fight the ANC government.
“Being a mayor for me, as I have always indicated was the last job I wanted, what I have always strived for and I am committed to this, is to dislodge the ANC,” said Mashaba.
“As long as we have this ANC government in power and in our lives, that’s what I will fight,” he continued.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the party and its Johannesburg caucus were not only proud of the work done by Mashaba since taking over the reins three years ago but were fully behind him and believed the DA, along with its coalition partners would defeat the motion.
“I met with the leaders, the people who are signatories of our coalition agreement and we are certainly all in one space, we agree that we must go out and vote in support,” he said.
His comments come on the back of speculation that the IFP, which is one of the DA’s coalition partners might vote in favour of the motion. The DA also previously had the EFF backing its mayor but the informal relationship has soured, with the party leader Julius Malema saying they had taken a decision to no longer vote with the DA.
The difficulty for the EFF in this case, is that it has often expressed its support and admiration for how Mashaba runs the city of Johannesburg, saying it was willing to have him be mayor even if the DA was no longer in charge.
While Maimane and Mashaba could not say if the EFF would throw its 30 council votes behind Mashaba, they said the upcoming motion was not an issue of working with the DA or not but about the people of Johannesburg.
The ANC has 122 of the 270 seats and would need assistance to gain a majority and control of the council, with 136 seats.