Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s survival yesterday was seen by some as a vote of confidence in his crusade against corruption, after the ANC was forced to withdraw its no-confidence motion against him to avoid an embarrassing defeat.
The ANC failed to lobby the five Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) members to vote with them to oust Mashaba and abandoned the motion when it smelt imminent embarrassment.
Had the ANC secured the IFP votes it would have been able to oust the mayor, according to Al Jama-ah councillor and chief whip Thapelo Amad.
Prior to the sitting of the Joburg City Council yesterday, the ANC was confident of the ousting due to a promise by some smaller parties to vote with it on the motion.
The ANC pinned its hopes on the backing from its new partners – Patriotic Alliance, the African Independent Congress and Al Jama-ah – but the total votes of the coalition was not enough without the IFP support.
IFP Gauteng leader Bonginkosi Dhlamini confirmed the ANC attempted to lobby his party, but they refused to vote against Mashaba.
“The IFP has got nothing to do with the ANC motion of no confidence.
“They have their own reasons for wanting to remove him. We told them what our stand is: we are not interested in their motion.”
Dhlamini said the IFP was unhappy with Mashaba’s leadership style – being “arrogant” and “looking down upon other smaller parties” – but he partnered within the ruling coalition at the Joburg Council.
That alone would prevent the IFP from abandoning the cooperation it was involved in in the multiparty administration, he said.
But Amad denied that the ANC withdrew.
Instead, “the motion was deferred because we want to tie up the loose ends on our side”, he said.
“The negotiations with the IFP are still ongoing. We will still go back to them. We remain resolute as Al Jama-ah in removing the mayor,” he said.
Asked if he was still the mayoral candidate to replace Mashaba, Amad said discussions around who should take over from Mashaba were under way.
According to a source in the opposition parties, the IFP was offered an executive position if it agreed to support the anti-Mashaba motion.
“We agreed that we are going to share the spoils in terms of leadership among our coalition partners if we are voted into power,” said the source.
But Dhlamini said it was a matter of principle: they would not abandon the DA-led multiparty coalition.
It is understood the IFP’s refusal to cooperate with the ANC stemmed from differences they had in one of the KwaZulu-Natal municipalities. The party believed that if they could not work together in KZN, they shouldn’t cooperate elsewhere.
Mashaba could not be reached for comment, but on social media he joked about the whole thing, posting a video of himself sipping coffee.
“It seem @MYANC in Joburg had no confidence in their own no-confidence motion,” he tweeted.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema responded with three laughing emojis and the fourth of him crying.
Prior to the start of the council proceedings, the ANC taunted Mashaba, who was chewing gum, about whether he was chewing muthi – implying he had consulted a sangoma to make him win the motion.