Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba File picture: Independent Media
Johannesburg - Attempts to remove Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba have been thwarted after the motion of no confidence against him fell away on Wednesday.

The motion, which was scheduled for later this month, fell flat after the council’s programming committee refused to grant the ANC a vote by secret ballot.

“The committee considered the motions and determined that the resolutions pertaining to the call for a secret ballot were in conflict with the standing rules of council,” Funzela Ngobeni, the mayoral committee member for development planning, said in a statement.

However, ANC Joburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo slammed Ngobeni’s views that the party had refused to go ahead with the motions, emphasising that the ANC “will pursue the motions even if it means approaching the highest court in the land”.

“A vote by secret ballot seeks to afford all councillors, including many in the DA, an opportunity to do the right thing and remove Mashaba and Vasco da Gama,” Matongo said.

This came as the battle for control of the City of Joburg, the country’s economic hub, intensified after the motion, which was set for September 27, was announced.

The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and the DA were embroiled in a tussle over a plan by the former soldiers to organise a “massive protest” against Mashaba on the day of the motion.

In the message sent to members of the MKMVA, titled “battle orders are as follows”, MKMVA Joburg chairperson Junior Mokotjo calls on the ex-combatants to conduct a public awareness campaign on the failures of the DA-governed - supported by the EFF - municipality.

It also called on members to submit petitions to the office of the council’s Speaker, Da Gama, who the opposition also wanted removed during the motion.

The DA’s Joburg regional chairperson, Khume Ramulifho, called for ANC Gauteng head Paul Mashatile “to prevent acts of intimidation and violence” by the MKMVA in Joburg.

“The ANC has made it clear that it will resort to violence in order to undermine democratic process and the law,” he said.

MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe accused the DA of hypocrisy, saying it had also mobilised its members ahead of a parliamentary no confidence motion in President Jacob Zuma.

“The DA and EFF mobilised their members against President Zuma last month - and we didn’t have a problem with that.

"We fought hard for this democracy and, even though we are being insulted on a daily basis, we will defend this democracy and the constitution without any violence,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of Mokotjo, MKMVA national executive committee member Carl Niehaus said Mashaba had failed to address the plight of former soldiers.

“The MKMVA sent two letters to the mayor asking for a meeting to discuss things that are affecting military veterans.

“On both occasions, Mashaba did not respond. This is why the MKMVA supports a motion of no confidence in him,” Niehaus explained.

The Star