If you blinked you would have missed the vote that saved Ekurhuleni’s executive mayor Clr Mzwandile Masina from a Motion of No Confidence tabled by the DA in Ekurhuleni, on Thursday.
The motion was brought forward in an extraordinary council meeting, held at the Germiston Civic Centre.
Before the motion was officially tabled by Clr Phillip de Lange, DA leader in Ekurhuleni, singing filled the chambers with the ANC councillors and DA councillors (carrying signs reading “Mayor must go”) meeting in the middle of the council chambers.
Once proceedings were underway de Lange said, “The metro is being crippled under the mayor’s management.
“Service delivery issues are not being addressed and the mayor is responsible for service delivery in the metro.
“The metro is in crisis and the resources of the municipality are not being used to their full capacity in the best interests of the municipality and its citizens.”
De Lange added that the motion is a fight for people to be heard, a fight against corruption and a fight to unite the leaders who have committed to serving the public.
“As the DA, we have committed ourselves to protecting the rights of individuals and enhancing the gains we’ve made in our democratic society.
“We have already called on every elected public servant to vote with their conscience and vote to remove Masina as the executive mayor,” de Lange said.
“We must not vote along party lines, but rather vote in the interest of the people of Ekurhuleni.”
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The Freedom Front, COPE and the EFF threw their support behind the motion, with the EFF noting that though they were supporting the DA in this motion, they still need to decide how the parties will work together in the future.
With their working relationship hanging heavily on the DA’s approach to land reform.
The African Independent Congress was against the motion and stated their support for the mayor, as did the Patriotic Alliance, who questioned the DA’s logic as they did not have the voting numbers to get the motion to stick.
Independent Ratepayers Association of SA also supported the mayor and voted against the motion.
Izak Berg, IRASA PR councillor, accused the DA of being its own worst nightmare.
“The DA couldn’t save Nelson Mandela Bay with only 34 per cent support, so how can they hope to run the metro with only 34 per cent support?” Berg said.
The IFP stated that they were not approached by the DA or the ANC and, therefore, decided to abstain from the motion.
It was then time for councillors to vote on the motion.
Speaker of council alderman Patricia Kumalo noted that though the DA had requested a secret ballot vote when the motion was first tabled, she had decided against it.
“I have consulted with legal representatives, both internally and externally, and have decided that the vote will be done by Standing Order by-law number 75,” she said.
Standing Order 75, Questions Put, states that the question to be decided must be put by the speaker of council and if it is not heard or understood, the speaker of council must put it again.
It further states that councillors decide on an item by calling either “yes” or “no” after the speaker of council has put the question to the assembled members.
With this explanation, Kumalo asked who was for the motion, there was a loud roar, and who was against the motion, there was another loud roar.
After which Kumalo stated, “The Motion of No Confidence has been defeated.”
ANC councillors celebrated the outcome while Masina, accompanied by visiting Gauteng Premier David Makhura, headed outside to address ANC and SACP supporters who were confidently waiting outside the civic centre.
Masina thanked the crowd for their support, while Makhura stated, “The ANC is not going to allow the DA to take Gauteng backwards.”
Makhura further stated that ANC councillors need to be on the ground at all times, listening to the needs of the people.
The GCN spoke to some supporters.
A staunch ANC supporter, Mirriam Mpotu, shared her jubilation with the GCN over the failed Motion of No Confidence.
“I am happy about the outcome of the vote, however, this does not mean I am blind to the mayor’s shortcomings concerning pensioners,” said Mpotu.
“Bills continue to pile up while we remain neglected and are expected to use the little money we have to cover exorbitant debts.”
Nkosinathi Shongwe was also among the cheerful crowd of supporters and was pleased the mayor was not ousted and the metro would continue to be led by Masina.
“We will continue to support Masina and the ANC government, not because they follow up on every promise or because we think they are perfect, but in remembrance of the fact that all other political parties, including the DA, have not done anything noteworthy in our metro,” said Shongwe.
“All they do is report on what Masina is not doing and have nothing from their corners that proves they would be better equipped to run our city.”
But not everyone outside the civic centre celebrated with the mayor, among the supporters, protesters demanded jobs from the metro.
They carried signs reading “No jobs, no votes in 2019”.
The DA responded to the failed Motion of No Confidence.
“The outcome of the Motion of No Confidence shows the failing ANC would rather put Masina ahead of the people of Ekurhuleni,” said de Lange.
“As the DA, we have fought for the voice of the people of Ekurhuleni to be heard in council.
“This Motion of No Confidence should have become Masina’s political execution.
“As public servants, it is our duty to put the interests of the people of Ekurhuleni before party politics.
“The Motion of No Confidence may have failed today but we will continue to pressure the mayor and his executive to deliver on their mandate to the people,” said de Lange.
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