Nonceba Molwele appointed Joburg speaker but DA maintains it is illegal

Party officials in council chambers during a session. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

A new Johannesburg council speaker has been elected amid questions around the legality of Da Gama’s exit.

Councillor Nonceba Molwele has been controversially appointed as the speaker of the Johannesburg council following last week’s council meeting, which ended with Vasco da Gama surviving a motion of no confidence.

Da Gama was initially voted out, but this was overturned after an objection was made and it was determined that he had survived the vote.

The DA maintains that today’s council meeting to vote in a new speaker was unlawful because the motion to remove Da Gama did not pass with a majority last week.

According to the party,  a new speaker could not be elected as the position was not vacant as Da Gama was not voted out.

Molwele was voted in as speaker unopposed on Wednesday and without participation from the DA.

While the DA did not participate in the vote, two DA councillors – Vinay Choonie and Basil Douglas – were present during the council meeting, posing a question on their allegiance.

Their presence granted the sitting quorum and allowed it to proceed.

At least two DA councillors voted with the ANC in the secret vote that elected Geoff Makhubo as the mayor last week.

The DA noted the outcome of the council meeting, which it regards as illegal. The party said it was obtaining advice and wanted to make it clear that it had “no difficulty in taking up seats in opposition benches”, but two DA councillors had defied the caucus whip and thus would face the consequences.

“We will continue to hold this new government accountable and fight against a return to looting and the destruction of successes achieved by three years of a DA-led government.”

The ANC has congratulated Molwele and argued that the DA’s theatrics and attempts to illegitimately hold on to power failed as a new speaker had been elected properly.

“It is saddening, though not surprising, that the party chose to play politics with complete disregard for both their voters and the residents of the City of Johannesburg. We wish Cllr Molwele well in her newly assumed position. We have full confidence in her leadership and believe that she will save the ship that is the City of Joburg from sinking.”

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