PRETORIA - The Tshwane regional ANC on Monday appealed to the High Court in Pretoria to overturn Tshwane Council Speaker Rachel Mathebe's decision which ruled that a motion of no-confidence against Mayor Solly Msimanga be held in council through a show of hands.
The opposition party in the Tshwane Council, the ANC, had put a spirited bid to have the vote of confidence in Msimanga be held through a secret ballot, a move that was thwarted by Mathebe's ruling.
The ANC then approached the courts.
On Monday, Advocate Aslam Bava SC, for the ANC, told Judge Thina Siwendu that "an illegality" had taken place and the court should step in to correct it, on an urgent basis.
"The court cannot allow an illegality to persist. We cannot wait for the matter to be placed on the normal [court] roll because that would take it to 2019, while this illegal act continues," Bava submitted.
"Does this court allow an illegality to persist? Unless the illegal act is set aside by the court, it continues to be in force. This is an accountability issue, and the Democratic Alliance says let's gloss over Council rules."
On September 27, Mathebe ruled after a day of long arguments in council that the vote would be conducted by an open show of hands by councillors.
The ANC, through its regional chairperson Kgosi Maepa, vehemently argued that the motion should had to be conducted via a secret ballot because “there is a toxic environment and councillors have been intimidated” by the DA to side with Msimanga.
The ANC, which is the governing party nationally but lost control of Tshwane in the tightly contested 2016 local government elections, said it had lobbied councillors from other parties including Msimanga's DA, and wanted the motion to proceed via secret ballot.
"We have covered our ground. We are now using the affidavit that was written by the city manager to the mayor. This affidavit is shocking. The city manager explains in detail, how the mayor knew, as early as May 2017, about the scandal of GladAfrica. We now have a sworn affidavit from the city manager," Maepa explained at the time.
GladAfrica has been at the centre of allegations of the improper awarding of tenders in Tshwane amounting to hundreds of millions of rands -- a scandal which has rocked the Tshwane Metro Municipality, and continues to deepen.
The court case is set to resume on Tuesday.
* Receive IOL's top stories via Whatsapp by sending your name to 0745573535.
African News Agency (ANA)