ANC and Patriotic Alliance claim victory over same court ruling

Aphiwe Deklerk Political reporter
The executive mayor of Johannesburg, Geoffrey Makhubo, is at loggerheads with the Patriotic Alliance.
The executive mayor of Johannesburg, Geoffrey Makhubo, is at loggerheads with the Patriotic Alliance.
Image: Sisanda Aluta Mbolekwa

The ANC in the City of Johannesburg is claiming victory after an urgent bid by former coalition partner the Patriotic Alliance (PA) to stop the ruling party from severing ties was removed from the high court roll.

Gayton McKenzie's PA was at loggerheads with the ANC, which holds the mayoral seat in the coalition government in Johannesburg, leading to a breakdown of their relationship.

Mayor Geoff Makhubu then reshuffled his executive, replacing Lloyd Phillips of the PA with Lawrence Khoza, a move that prompted McKenzie's party to approach the high court.

In terminating the coalition relationship with the PA, the ANC said the parties could not agree on how to handle matters of governance because McKenzie's party failed to understand the separation between party and state.

The ANC said in a statement on Wednesday, that it was humbled by the court's dismissal of the arguments by the PA.

“The court endorsed the executive mayor’s decision to appoint councillor Khoza as the MMC for economic development. In our court papers, we informed the court that the main reason for the termination of the PA’s relationship is that our ideological outlook is poles apart. 

“This is so because the PA failed, to this day, to draw a line between party and state. In all its dealings, in the short space of time that it was in this coalition agreement, the PA conflated the party and state line. To the PA, this line does not exist,” said ANC spokesperson Sasabona Manganye. 

But the PA, in its own statement, also hailed the decision to remove the matter from the roll as a victory, because it said Makhubu was forced to make embarrassing concessions in court that the PA should not have been removed from the coalition.

“This has exposed them badly, since the ANC’s lawyers had already confirmed, in writing, to the PA’s lawyers that the PA had already been removed from the PMC. Subsequent affidavits, under oath, from Makhubo and the ANC’s regional secretary Dada Morero, then denied this. 

“On the basis that the ANC has now so conveniently denied that it intends to do what it has already declared it did, the urgent matter was removed from the court roll this morning,” said PA spokesperson Charles Cilliers.

He said the PA intends to re-enrol the matter should the ANC continue to “flee from the pressing need for a meeting of all the [coalition parties], which the PA has a clear legal right to form a part of”.

Cilliers said the PA’s legal team would on Wednesday write to the ANC to make it clear that the ANC needs to abide by its sworn oath to the high court to observe the coalition agreement.

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