Battle for Joburg speaker post intensifies
This comes as the legitimacy of Vasco da Gama as the council’s speaker remains in question after the DA blocked an ANC-led motion of no confidence against him despite it being supported by most councillors present at last week’s council meeting.
The DA argued that, in terms of the rules, a majority vote meant that Da Gama could only be removed through a clear majority of the 270 council seats and not by the majority of councillors in attendance.
City manager Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni has called councillors to an extraordinary meeting to fill the “vacant” speaker post after he was instructed to do so by newly-elected mayor Geoff Makhubo.
DA caucus leader Funzela Ngobeni said: “We regard the notice issued by the manager to councillors as irregular and illegal. Only the speaker can call a meeting and we have warned him that he must withdraw the notice or we will take him to court.
“Da Gama is currently the speaker and if the ANC has a problem with the ruling of the presiding officer of last week’s meeting (the DA’s Alex Christians), they should follow the processes and appeal the ruling and not behave the way they are behaving. There are processes.”
ANC regional secretary Dada Morero had “finally unmasked them (DA) as fraudsters”, adding that the legal opinion sought by Da Gama made it clear that a majority vote related not to seats by votes cast by councillors present.
“The presiding officer, a compromised man of the DA, Christians started off by declaring the motion as passed and later denied the will of the majority by refusing to listen to legal advice and by misinterpreting the Constitution, Municipal Structures Act, Standing Rules and Orders of Council, Council Precedent, and Accepted Legal Opinion.”
He added that the ANC has sought legal advice which confirmed that Da Gama no longer held the position.
He highlighted that Lukhwareni was legally empowered to convene a council sitting to fill the vacancy.
“We welcome this move and hope that the DA will not attempt to derail the unfolding of democratic processes We stand by the decision of the City manager and call on the MEC of Cogta in the province to dispatch a team to safeguard democracy at (tomorrow’s) Council meeting.”