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African Independent Congress councillor Margaret Arnolds is the new Johannesburg council speaker


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African Independent Congress councillor Margaret Arnolds is the new Johannesburg council speaker

20th November 2023

By: News24Wire


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African Independent Congress councillor (AIC) Margaret Arnolds was elected the new speaker of the Johannesburg council at a special council meeting on Monday.

Arnolds' nomination was not challenged. 


City manager Floyd Brink immediately announced her as the speaker after she accepted her nomination from the floor. 

News24 reported last week that smaller parties chose Arnolds as the next speaker.


Arnolds served as the chairperson of the council's Section 77 committee, a position she will have to vacate after her elevation to the council speaker post.

She served as Joburg councillor for three terms and was vital in helping the African National Congress (ANC) when it needed to co-govern the metro in the previous council administration that ended in 2021. 

Arnolds served as a mayoral committee member during that term but was not selected for a similar position when the ANC formed a coalition agreement with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) earlier this year. 

The coalition agreement between the EFF, ANC, Patriotic Alliance and about nine other small political parties dictates that minority parties hold the speaker position, chairpersonship of committees and the mayoral position. 

Al Jama-Ah councillor Kabelo Gwamanda holds the mayoral position.

A vacancy occurred in the leadership of the council when former speaker Colleen Makhubele was fired as a Congress of the People (COPE) councillor last week. 

COPE's termination of her membership meant she could no longer hold the leadership position in the council because she was no longer a proportional representative councillor. 

Makhubele was accused of contravening COPE's constitution by allying with a newly launched coalition pact called the South African Rainbow Alliance. 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) caucus did not attend Monday's council sitting where Arnolds was elected. ActionSA said the DA had been approached last week to discuss a possible coalition for Joburg, including the Patriotic Alliance, and proposing a challenger to the ANC nominee.

ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont said the DA had again failed Johannesburg residents. 

"Efforts to engage the DA began last week, following the revelation of Cope's removal of Speaker Colleen Makhubele. During these discussions, the PA, for the 4th time this year, availed themselves to restore the majority behind a coalition with the DA, ActionSA, IFP, FF Plus, ACDP and the UIM (United Independent Movement). The nature of these discussions allowed the DA to determine whether they would like to lead this arrangement or whether they would prefer to support a candidate from one of these parties to win Joburg away from the ANC and EFF. 

"Despite this approach taken, coalition partners were informed late last night by the DA that they would not support any arrangement to take back Joburg," Beaumont said. 

The DA has been touting a proposal to dissolve the council. 

This effort needs the support of the majority of councillors, meaning that even the ANC and the EFF would have to support a motion that takes their governance out of power.


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