City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba File picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA

Johannesburg - The South 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.

The court application came after the ANC submitted a motion for debate early this month and had earmarked that the motion be debated in the council meeting on Wednesday.

This was, however, was refused by the DA controlled City of Joburg programming committee on the grounds that the ANC had failed to follow proper council rules for such a debate to be held in the full council meeting.

Da Gama, in his reply to the ANC, also said that he does not have discretion to order such a motion should be held through a secret ballot.

Earlier on Tuesday ANC counsel Advocate William Mokhari SC rejected Da Gama’s version saying there were no council rules which stipulated that a motion of no confidence could only be debated after the programming committee had given its go ahead.

Advocate Mokhari said motions could only be proposed in a full council meeting.

“The ANC followed all the procedures by submitting the motion 14 days before the next council meeting. That meeting was due tomorrow. The programming committee had not right to reject the motion.

“Even more surprising was the reaction of the Speaker (Da Gama) that he would not allow the motion to be debated. He further said if the motion was passed, he could not order an immediate election of the Mayor and Speaker.

“Our view was that all such matters must be debated in council meeting put on a vote if they were differences of opinion,” Mokhari said.

Advocate Mokhari also referred the court to a recent ruling of the Constitutional Court which ordered Parliament to deal “expeditiously” with the issue of voting through a secret ballot.

According to Mokhari, the ConCourt ruling was also relevant to the municipality, which is another sphere of government.

But Da Gama, disagreed, he said he did not have the same powers compared to the Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete. Da Gama proposed that the ANC approach the council with the view of amending the laws to enable him to have a discretion on a secret ballot.

Political Bureau and African News Agency