ANC councillors are set to walk out in the middle of Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga inaugural State of the Capital Address on Thursday. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi
Pretoria - ANC councillors have a surprise in store for mayor Solly Msimanga when he delivers his inaugural State of the Capital Address (Soca) on Thursday at the Tshwane Events Centre.

Their leader, Mapiti Matsena, told the Pretoria News they were plotting to stage a dramatic walkout in the middle of the Soca.

This would be a way to express their displeasure at Msimanga's refusal to postpone the event in honour of the late Struggle hero Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu.

The activist was hanged on April 6, 1979, by the apartheid government.

Matsena said the caucus was meeting on Wednesday to finalise details on their intention for the day.

He also did not rule out the possibility of ANC councillors not pitching at all for the occasion.

The Soca coincides with the commemoration the 38th anniversary of the execution of the uMkhonto we Sizwe cadre by South Africa in general and the community of military veterans.

The commemoration starts at Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre and includes a wreath-laying ceremony in Mamelodi West Cemetery before concluding with a public lecture at the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square in Mamelodi.

“We are still looking into different options, but we will be finalising the issue today to see whether we must go and celebrate the contribution made by Mahlangu to our freedom, or attend the Soca for a few minutes and leave in the middle of the mayor’s speech,” he said.

Matsena accused Msimanga of hypocrisy, saying the DA visited Mahlangu’s statue during the municipal election campaign last year. 

The party claimed Mahlangu belonged to all South Africans, he said.

“The DA-led government is very insensitive to the role played by Mahlangu by letting the Soca coincide with the commemoration of the death of an icon,” he said. 

He insisted Msimanga had to postpone his Soca and devote the day to Mahlangu.

The EFF, on the other hand, said it rejected the idea to host Soca in the first place, because it was a waste of money which could be used for service delivery.

Msimanga’s spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi was adamant that the activities for the day were going ahead as planned.

“It is all system go from the side of the mayor’s office, but you can speak to the Speaker’s office about it; the Soca is the agenda of the Speaker,” he said.

Tiyiselani Babane, the strategic executive in the office of Speaker Katlego Mathebe, echoed Mgobozi’s views and said the event would proceed “very well” as organised.

“It is going to be a very well-organised Soca that will not be extravagant,” Babane said.

The occasion would be divided into two parts; the ceremonial activities and the mayor’s speech, he said.

Activities are scheduled to start at 7:15am and run until 11am, and will include parades by the metro police to be attended by Msimanga. 

At 11am, Mathebe will take to the podium to officially declare the special council sitting open.

Babane said Mathebe would then call on Msimanga to render his maiden speech since wresting control of the capital city from the ANC last August.

“There will be only one agenda for the day, which is the mayor’s speech. There won’t be any debate taking place about the speech."

Babane said the date for debates would be announced by Mathebe.

Msimanga previously made known that the Soca would not be a red-carpet event.

The mayor said the intention was to do things slightly different under the DA-led administration.

“We are not going to have a big ceremony with red carpet and all of that. It is not what I want to do. Yes, there will be other things that have traditionally been done. I am told some of these things have to happen,” he said.

Msimanga said uppermost on his mind would be putting together a realistic budget to fund service delivery projects for all residents of the city.

Among other key issues to form part of his speech will be the introduction of a maintenance budget, the announcement of a huge housing project and plans to attract more investments into the capital city.

“I want to make sure that we have a realistic budget going forward; that we begin to address some of the aspirations of our people in a realistic manner,” Msimanga said.

The mayor is also expected to talk about job creation plans during his address.

These will include cutting top management jobs to free some of the money.

Pretoria News