Pretoria - Tshwane executive mayor Solly Msimanga, who remains first citizen of the capital after two failed motions of no confidence against him, said his DA-led coalition government would steadfastly focus on ensuring delivery of services to the people of the city.
“Ours is just to go back to work. We have been distracted for far too long. The people of Tshwane deserve services. The people of Tshwane are asking that we forget about this political shenanigans and begin to serve them,” he said.
He slammed the ANC for showing political opportunistic behaviour. This, after the EFF walked out of the council sitting that was supposed to outvote him.
“The ANC motion could continue. We were quorating and they realised that they were piggybacking on the EFF being in council. They were not genuine on debating the issues that they were raising in the motion. This is just political opportunistic behaviour that we have seen playing out there,” Msimanga said.
Asked about his chances of surviving the second motion of no confidence planned by the EFF and ANC, he said: “I am not going to focus my time in office worrying about what the ANC wants to do.”
He reiterated that he would like to focus on bringing services to the people of Tshwane and building a legacy that “should be a footprint on which a good government needs to be built on”.
The stage had been set for the removal of Msimanga, but he survived after the motion of no confidence by the EFF was rendered invalid by council Speaker Katlego Mathebe.
The motion was found to be out of keeping with council rules because it wasn't substantiated by a written motivation. The EFF had wanted to give an oral motivation to the motion, but Mathebe didn't allow this. The red berets subsequently walked out of the Sammy Marks Council chamber.
EFF caucus leader Benjamin Disoloane threatened that the party would take Mathebe’s decision to court for review.
Outside the chamber, Disoloane told journalists that his councillors wouldn't return to participate in the tabling of the second motion of no confidence by the ANC.
He said: “We submitted our motion on time. The council rules say that any urgent motion can be submitted two hours before council. They are now saying it is not written.”
He said his councillors were not prepared to participate in the wrong things happening in council. “Because our motion fell out we can't sit in the council where wrong things are happening. We are going to make sure that we take the Speaker to court. We are going to write another motion of no confidence against the mayor again,” he said.
The contestation of the EFF motion was brought by the MMC for Economic Development Randall Williams; he said the motion was devoid of a written motivation as required by the council rules.
“There is no motivation for urgency of the motion,” Williams said.
ANC caucus spokesperson Lesego Makhubela said the official opposition would not back down on its tabled motion in council. This was after ANC councillors had requested a 10-minute break to discuss their motion following the EFF’s walkout. Without the support of the EFF, the ANC would not have the numbers to oust Msimanga.
“Our politics is not about underhand politics. We came here depending on our own strength as the ANC. If we were joined by others we would have welcomed that. We are emboldened more than ever. Whether this motion succeeds or not, we would have made our point. The ANC is not going to walk away using flimsy technicalities,” Makhubela said.
But, when the ANC councillors finally returned to council they criticised Mathebe’s ruling against the EFF, saying it was unfair.
Party chief whip Aaron Maluleka said they decided not to go ahead with the motion. The ANC then followed the EFF out of the chamber, threatening to go to court with Julius Malema’s party.
In the absence of the ANC councillors, Mathebe declared that their motion had lapsed because the person who had tabled it was not in council.
New ANC caucus leader and regional chairperson Dr Kgosi Maepa said it was unfair that Mathebe decided to “disenfranchise” people based on the technicality in their motion.
“We should give people their legal and constitutional rights to vote on whether they want the motion or they don't want the motion. You can't disenfranchise people simply based on the fact that there is a technicality somewhere,” said Maepa. He would have been nominated mayor by the ANC had the party and EFF succeeded in toppling Msimanga.
Maepa suggested that the lapsed motion must not be seen as a defeat of the ANC.
“We are not dumping the motion at all. We didn't bring this motion. It is not us individually who brought the motion. The people have asked the ANC to bring the motion because there is a lack of service delivery."