Thembeka Ngcukaitobi and Dali Mpofu for the City of Joburg in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday. Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Johannesburg - The South Gauteng High Court struck an application by the ANC to have a no motion of confidence against Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and Council speaker Vasco da Gama off the court roll on Tuesday night, due to lack of urgency.

Judge Sydwell Shangisa also ordered the African National Congress (ANC) to pay the legal costs of Mashaba and da Gama .

The ANC were seeking the motion of no confidence to be held via secret ballot after the council’s programming committee refused to grant the ANC a vote by secret ballot early this month.

Earlier, Advocate William Mukhari, for the ANC, argued that the motion of no confidence against Mashaba and da Gama should be dealt with like that of the president.

He said refusal by the Speaker was blatantly unlawful and unconstitutional.

"This is an attempt by the Speaker to block council members from exercising their responsibility to hold the executive accountable," Mukhari said.

The ANC attributed the removal of Mashaba and da Gama to failure to deliver better services to residents. 

Mashaba said the allegations levelled against him by the ANC were baseless and laid the blame for the city's financial distress on the doors of the ANC when it still governed the city. 

Advocate Dali Mpofu, for Mashaba, said the application was not urgent and the urgency was self-created.

"This is the biggest abuse of court process that I have seen in my life....There is ample proof that this is a waste of time."

Mpofu said a message must be sent to society and political parties that abuse of court should not be allowed.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for da Gama, said there was no need to put the court under pressure on a matter that will end up at the Constitutional Court.

The ANC wanted the secret ballot matter to be part of the agenda for Wednesday's council meeting. The court extended its hours and finished at 8pm.

The ANC has remained undeterred and have decided to approach the Constitutional Court over the matter .

"We remain convinced that the refusal by the Speaker to place the motions for debate and voting at the Council meeting of 27 September 2017 is unconstitutional and unlawful," the party said in a statement.