Maile asked to invalidate election of committee chairpersons at chaotic Joburg council sitting

28th January 2022 By: News24Wire

The African National Congress (ANC) Johannesburg has written to Gauteng Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile to ask him to invalidate the election of committee chairpersons during a chaotic council sitting on Thursday. 

Sixteen councillors from the Democratic Alliance, ActionSA, Patriotic Alliance, United Independent Movement and African Transformation Movement were elected to serve as chairpersons in various portfolios. The ANC had been eyeing those positions for its councillors. 

In a letter dated 27 January, ANC caucus leader in the City of Johannesburg council Mpho Moerane said his party's "biggest disgruntlement regarding Thursday's council sitting was due to Speaker Vasco Da Gama not allowing for the submission of a motion to nominate chairpersons for election".

Thursday's disorder was the third time that a council sitting descended into chaos, including the hurling of insults and threats.

"The last council sitting [on 18 January] that collapsed did not conclude, and therefore no decision was taken on the item of the elections of committee chairpersons. As a result, whatever discussions on the item that took place in the last sitting should be disregarded as no resolution was taken by the council or a majority of councillors.

"Instead of adhering to this common understanding, Councillor Da Gama insisted that the last meeting had taken nominations and therefore today's sitting will proceed straight to the nomination acceptance stage and not allow for nominations to be submitted," Moerane said in his letter to Maile.

The ANC caucus leader was emphatic in his reiteration that such misconduct could not be tolerated.

"It cannot be that council starts during a new meeting where it left off in its last sitting. The consideration of the item should start afresh, and all nominations submitted by all political parties should be considered," Moerane said.

He urged the MEC to intervene urgently, and said the ANC caucus could not continue to operate in an uncouth manner in City of Johannesburg council sittings.

"The unfortunate collapse of the last council meeting can be fully attributed to the conduct of the speaker of council, who failed to consolidate dissenting views from fellow councillors regarding voting for Section 79 committee chairpersons," Moerane said.

Councillors from the ANC, Economic Freedom Fighters and six other smaller parties again resorted to disrupting proceedings. They also threatened to report the matter to the police or take legal action. 

The disgruntled councillors accused the council speaker of "suppressing" them and avoiding debate.

Opposition councillors also challenged minutes from the two previous failed sittings.