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ActionSA lines up no confidence motion in Johannesburg mayor after failure to 'clear his name'

Sisanda Mbolekwa Politics reporter
Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda at the parade with JMPD before entering the council chamber to deliver his state of the city address this week.
Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda at the parade with JMPD before entering the council chamber to deliver his state of the city address this week.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

ActionSA has announced the commencement of a process aimed at unseating Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, saying he has consistently ducked from media opportunities to come clean over serious allegations he is facing.

“Johannesburg residents cannot be asked to blindly place their trust in a mayor’s leadership of a R70bn municipality when he has serious unanswered questions of fraud hanging over his head in a coalition arrangement where his strings are pulled by parties like the ANC and EFF,” caucus leader Funzi Ngobeni said.

He cited a Carte Blanche expose which alleged Gwamanda is accused of defrauding vulnerable people through his entity iThemba Lama Afrika. This allegedly scammed people into investing in a funeral/investment scheme. Investors were allegedly left high and dry when it was time to claim their benefits. The broadcaster said there were also serious questions about his claims of academic qualifications.

Ngobeni said the party had challenged Gwamanda to use his state of the city address to address the allegations.

“It is evident from his state of the city address yesterday [Tuesday] that Gwamanda did not take this demand seriously and this is why ActionSA has filed a motion of no confidence to remove him from office,” he said.

ActionSA said the pending motion followed protracted engagements with political parties in Johannesburg.

“Since the expose by Carte Blanche, Gwamanda has not taken council or the residents of Johannesburg into his confidence to provide any assurance about these serious allegations of wrongdoing,” Ngobeni said. 

Instead, coalition partners have helped shield Gwamanda from unscripted engagements with the media.

On Tuesday, instead of the mayor engaging journalists after the state of the city address, four members of his mayoral committee undertook that responsibility, claiming he had other engagements.

Ngobeni said the mayor’s silence on these charges nearly one month later can only be construed as his wish not to incriminate himself by engaging the media and Johannesburg residents more broadly.

“ActionSA, along with the IFP, FF Plus, ACDP and UIM have engaged the DA with the purpose of securing a discussion with the DA in respect of collaborating in this motion of no confidence.”

He said his party reached out to the DA on May 15 seeking a meeting about all parties discussing the need for a motion of no confidence in the wake of the Carte Blanche allegations.

However, it is said the DA has failed to respond to these requests despite several parties in the “moonshot” pact discussions observing the importance of repairing the reputational damage to the confidence in its multiparty coalition project at a local level.

“The motion is due to be heard in the council meeting scheduled for June 20-21 and is typically conducted by an open show of hands. ActionSA welcomes this transparent process to distinguish between parties that merely talk about building an alternative to the ANC from those parties that are committed to building the alternative in South Africa.”

Ngobeni said the city deserved better than a mayor from a two-seat party that cannot be trusted by his own coalition partners to answer simple and direct questions about the allegations he faces.

“It demonstrates how his leadership of the city is nothing more than a charade while the ANC and EFF implement their real agenda with the benefit of being able to deny they were in charge.”


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