Pretoria - The fate of Tshwane’s new council Speaker Mncedi Ndzwanana hangs in the balance, with a special council sitting scheduled for today to deliberate on a motion to oust him.
City manager Johann Mettler undertook to convene the sitting after Ndzwanana refused to accede to demands by multiparty coalition partners to convene a meeting to hear a motion of no confidence against him.
The coalition is heading into today’s meeting with confidence that it has the numbers to remove Ndzwanana as council speaker.
This comes as the coalition partners had seemingly put their house in order, with ActionSA firing four of its councillors suspected of having voted with the ANC and EFF against the party mandate.
Previous voting for the positions of mayor and speaker were marred by accusations of vote-buying and bribery.
ActionSA chief whip in council Kgosietsile Kgosiemang opened a criminal case against Defenders of the People councillor, Sipho Mokone, for allegedly trying to bribe him with R2 million in exchange of his vote for former Cope councillor Dr Murunwa Makwarela as mayor.
The party’s national chairperson Michael Beaumont last week accused Ndzwanana of being conflicted, saying he was preventing a motion of no confidence against him from being heard.
Ndzwanana has, instead, called a council meeting for tomorrow for the election of the executive mayor of Tshwane.
However, the outcome of today’s meeting to decide Ndzwanana’s future is bound to have a bearing on whether tomorrow’s meeting to elect the mayor would go ahead as planned or not.
On Saturday, the multi-party coalition in Tshwane hailed as a victory a confirmation that a special council meeting will be held today.
“This follows a petition submitted by all councillors within the coalition, who constitute a majority of council, demanding that such a meeting be convened given the patently unlawful actions of the speaker of council in adjourning the meeting on Wednesday,” coalition said.
Ndzwanana adjourned Wednesday’s meeting, citing the fact that he had to consult with lawyers on the credentials of a Cope councillor, Justice Sefanyetso.
The coalition said: “On Thursday, the multi-party coalition issued legal papers to the speaker and a petition calling for a special council meeting to be called on March 24 to elect the mayor and consider the motion of no confidence in the speaker. Despite the Speaker being compelled to call a meeting
at the instruction of a majority of councillors, as stipulated in the Municipal Structures Act, he ignored this directive.”
By removing the speaker today, the coalition said, the ANC and EFF would not be able to use Ndzwanana to frustrate the multi-party coalition from electing a new speaker and executive mayor.
But the EFF in Tshwane came to Ndzwanana’s defence, saying he had been subjected to unwarranted attacks since he assumed office.
The attacks on the speaker undermined the efficiency of the municipal council to conduct its business legitimately, transparently and in good faith, it said. Party regional leader Obakeng Ramabodu said the speaker never had the benefit of fulfilling his responsibilities with ease since occupying office because of persecution by the DA.
“Enduring deliberate collapse of council meetings, issuing of useless ultimatums, casting aspersions over the speaker’s ability to understand council rules and orders and competently presiding over council meetings, the speaker has been through fire and brimstone attributable to the DA’s false narrative of black incompetence at the expense of white frivolity,” he said.
On Friday, Ndzwanana disputed reports that he failed to honour a meeting asked by coalition partners for Thursday, branding them devoid of any truth.
“The only urgent council meeting I have convened is scheduled for Tuesday, March 28 to elect the executive mayor. It is my fervent wish to see the executive mayor elected to enable the City to return to normality and for council meetings to conclude the business of the day uninterrupted.”