ANC steals time on council

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

The ANC has been accused of muzzling small but vocal opposition parties in the Johannesburg City Council.

Speaking time for parties such as the PAC, Azanian People's Organisation, Christian Democratic Party, Operation Khanyisa Movement and the UDM, have been reduced to four seconds.

The Africanist Christian Democratic Party and the DA have been allocated eight seconds, while the IFP has 28 seconds.

Spokesman for the PAC Mudini Maivha said the ANC is "power drunk" and continues to show disrespect for democracy.

"The ANC is arrogant because of its size in chambers.

"They forget that people outside the chamber have given some of us a mandate to speak on their behalf," said Maivha.

Dan Habedi of Azapo said the ANC is leading the country into a one-party state by sabotaging democracy.

"The recent service delivery protests will escalate because the ANC is silencing the voice that criticises their failures," he said.

Trevor Ngwane, of Operation Khanyisa Movement, accused the ANC of using its majority to silence the voice of residents.

"This is not an attack on parties in council but a direct attack on ordinary people. We speak on their behalf," said Ngwane.

Council spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said: "Council consists of 217 elected representatives, representing 13 different political parties, the majority of whom are represented by a single councillor.

"The items on the council agenda have gone through rigorous debate at a committee level, where there is no time restriction as the number of items are obviously far smaller than those before council.

"That is where the real debates should take place.

"It should be emphasized that all democracies try to balance the allocation of speaking time with the rights of minority parties to have their say."