MEC Lebogang Maile threatens to remove Joburg speaker Vasco da Gama

Gauteng MEC for human settlements Lebogang Maile has accused Johannesburg council speaker Vasco da Gama, pictured, of abusing his powers.
Gauteng MEC for human settlements Lebogang Maile has accused Johannesburg council speaker Vasco da Gama, pictured, of abusing his powers.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla

Gauteng's MEC for human settlements, Lebogang Maile, has accused Johannesburg council speaker Vasco da Gama of abusing his powers and threatened to institute proceedings to have him removed from the position. 

This comes after the postponement of a Johannesburg council meeting on Thursday that was meant to elect a new mayor. Postponing the meeting, Da Gama said he wanted to get a legal opinion on what "majority vote" meant in relation to voting for a new mayor.

The ANC has insisted Da Gama should have consulted and made a decision on Thursday because the council meeting had a quorum.

In a statement on Friday, Maile said he had written a formal letter to Da Gama, requesting written representations from him about why he should not be suspended or removed as a councillor.

“A council meeting was duly scheduled for November 28 2019 to elect a new executive mayor for the city. You, however, adjourned the council meeting and postponed same to December 4-5 2019. You indicated the postponement was necessary in order to seek independent legal opinion on what constitutes a majority of votes to elect a new executive mayor”, wrote Maile.

“This decision was arbitrary and an abuse of your office. Not only did it deprive the council to execute its constitutional and legal obligations to elect an executive mayor, but it prejudiced the residents of the city as the municipality is now without an executive branch that must act within the best interests of the residents of the city.

"If such conduct is allowed and left undisturbed, it will set a bad precedent that other speakers may very well follow, which will ultimately lead to the collapse of governance at local government level.”

Maile said he offered Da Gama time to make representations. 

“Before I exercise my powers in terms of Item 14(6) of the Code, I hereby, in accordance with the rules of natural justice, invite your good self to, within seven days of receipt of this letter, make written representations to me as to why you should not be suspended or removed as a councillor”, he wrote. 

SowetanLIVE previously reported that after the resignation of Herman Mashaba as mayor, the ANC's regional chairperson, Geoff Makhubo, was going to contest as a candidate against the DA's Funzi Ngobeni and EFF's Musa Novela.

The DA was likely to lose the contest after it fell out of favour with the EFF, which has kept it in power as a coalition partner since 2016.


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