It started with the mysterious stay-away by EFF councillors. Their unexplained absence led to a walk-out by ANC members and ultimately the collapse of the meeting.
ANC leader Mapiti Matsena said he believed the stay-away was linked to problems the EFF was having with the DA in Nelson Mandela Bay metro, following the axing of deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani.
“They might have received an order from above to boycott council meetings as a sign of dissatisfaction,” he said.
Mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi could not provide answers for the EFF absence either, saying the administration of executive mayor Solly Msimanga was in the dark too.
“We were not told anything by the EFF. We can’t say for sure why they didn’t pitch for council."
The Pretoria News made numerous attempts to get clarification from EFF leader in council Benjamin Disoloane, but he did not respond to text messages nor answer phone calls.
Council Chief Whip Christo van den Heever started the meeting with the register and excused all the unavailable councillors from the different political parties. But suspicions were raised when all the EFF councillors were absent.
The ANC councillors questioned Van den Heever and Speaker Katlego Mathebe about the EFF’s whereabouts. After much deliberation ANC councillors asked Mathebe for a 10-minute caucus, after which they walked out.
Outside the chambers, they sang and chanted. ANC whip Aaron Maluleka said the party did not want to assist the DA in running the City. “They must not think they can throw their weight around and think they run Tshwane. They should humble themselves when thinking they are in charge."
The meeting had to be postponed owing to the council not reaching a quorum, with only 95 councillors in the House.
“We are just showing that without the ANC the meeting couldn’t go on,” he said. “Where are their coalition members, the fighters?”
Matsena said the DA could not rule the city alone; they ruled with the assistance of the EFF.
“Because of some internal challenges in their coalition the EFF staged a no-show, and this comes to the reality that for the council to proceed, you need 50% plus one, which they did not have,” said Matsena.
“If we had continued being part of that meeting we would have assisted the DA to pass some of the reports which we are against.”
Matsena said the ANC would not be bossed around by the DA.
Mayor Solly Msimanga condemned the walk-out by the ANC and called it a political stunt. “The very same ANC councillors who claim to advocate for the needs of the communities have once again proven that they only have their own interests at heart. They have chosen to play politics at the expense of the city's residents.
“The public must know that on this day, when we wanted to uplift 23000 poor families through our Extended Public Works Programme and through the sale of the mayoral mansion, the ANC said 'no'.”
Msimanga said it was important that the public be informed of the truth behind what was happening in council meetings.
Also, of the instrumental role the ANC has played in collapsing these important meetings, thus preventing the council from concluding important business.
One of the reports that was due to be tabled was the proposed sale of the mayoral mansion, previously used as a mayoral residence.
Msimanga recently decided that the property in Muckleneuk was no longer required for this purpose and that it be sold.
The latest valuation report indicates that the property can be sold for a minimum amount of R5million, this despite the R12m allegedly misused on dodgy renovations by the previous ANC administration.
“Given the market value of the property, it is unlikely that we will recoup the money wasted on exorbitant questionable renovations," Msimanga said.
"The mayoral mansion is no longer needed for municipal purposes.
"The sale will generate income for the city that can be utilised to augment other basic municipal services such as decent housing and improve our financial sustainability."
In determining the market value of the property, the City appointed an independent valuations services company.
It used direct comparison to determine the value of the property.
Direct comparison is the usage of recent market transactions in the area as guidelines to establish a market related value for the property.
The company researched a number of residential property sales in the area and surrounding neighbourhood and suburbs.
The property has five bedrooms, two en suite bathrooms, two additional full bathrooms, two separate guest toilets, an entrance foyer, dining room, lounge, TV room, family room, scullery, pantry, a fully fitted kitchen, a study and two outside staff rooms.