DA in Tshwane takes legal steps after acting speaker election

EFF councillors can be seen chasing away the Deputy Speaker, Zweli Khumalo during the Special Council sitting at Tshwane House, 5 December 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said Obakeng Ramabodu’s appointment as acting speaker was illegal, ‘aided and abetted by an ANC-deployed Cogta official’.

The legality of events at the special meeting of the Tshwane council on Thursday evening was brought into question after an acting speaker was elected because speaker Katlego Mathebe recused herself.

The special council meeting, meant to deal with a motion of no confidence against Mathebe, got off to a chaotic start after the speaker opened the session and then recused herself.

Mathebe did this because the motion involved her directly. Her subsequent stand-in, Zweli Khumalo, was met with protest from both the ANC and EFF as members from the opposition benches apparently did not want Khumalo as the stand-in speaker. This led to arguments and scuffles breaking out in council.

ANC and EFF councillors said that Khumalo reeked of alcohol and that a councillor should be nominated and elected in that sitting to deal with the motion.

However, according to a motion passed in 2017, which News24 has seen, Khumalo was appointed to act as speaker in the event that Mathebe was unavailable or unable to perform her duties for any specific reason.

The resolution was taken because the Municipal Structures Act does not provide for the election of a deputy speaker.

Khumalo, who is a DA councillor, was nominated while the ANC nominated JP Rammushi. Khumalo received 119 votes and Rammushi 81.

During the special council sitting on Thursday, EFF Tshwane regional chairperson Moafrika Mabogwana called for the rescinding of the resolution.

A member of the Gauteng Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, who has since been identified as deputy director-general Willy Bila, stepped in and facilitated a process to appoint a temporary speaker to hear the motion of no confidence.

EFF Tshwane councillor Obakeng Ramabodu was elected by the ANC and the EFF, while the DA did not provide a candidate as it was protesting the illegality of the process.

The motion against Mathebe then went to a vote where 110 councillors voted for the motion, while no member of council voted against it.

DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said Ramabodu’s appointment as acting speaker was illegal and that the ANC and EFF were “aided and abetted by an ANC-deployed Cogta official” in flouting the processes.

“As the DA we will oppose this illegal appointment in the council, and we will also take this matter to court. We are already busy with our attorneys and the legal process is under way,” Moodey said.

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