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Smaller parties rally behind Joburg mayor

Gwamanda faces motion of no confidence next week

Thulani Mbele Running Matters
Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. File photo.
Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Sydney Seshibedi

Smaller parties in the coalition government have rallied behind Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda who is set to face his first motion of no confidence next week.

ActionSA caucus leader Nobuhle Mthembu tabled the motion, saying the party does not have confidence in the “puppet mayor”.

“We don’t trust mayor Gwamanda to be held responsible for the city’s R80bn [budget] if he cannot manage his own affairs. We know he was linked to a funeral scheme [iThemba Lama Afrika] where people opened a case against him. Surely we cannot trust a mayor like that. We have a puppet mayor. We’ve got a stooge who is posing as a mayor.

“We are lobbying other political parties and it looks promising. We will only know for sure next week. We submitted a letter to the office of the speaker to try and push for a secret ballot,” said Mthembu. 

Allegations of Gwamanda running a ponzi scheme surfaced shortly after he was elected mayor.

Mthembu said the party had also tabled a motion of no confidence against speaker Colleen Makhubele.

The motion has raised a spectre of yet another possible mayoral change in the city. 

Patriotic Alliance’s Kenny Kunene said the coalition was intact and focused on delivering services to the people of Johannesburg.

“We are running a very stable coalition and focusing on service delivery. There are no problems unless something happens between now and then because you know in politics a day is too long ... but for now we are happy with the mayor,” Kunene said. 

Lubabalo Magwentshu from the ATM said the coalition still had confidence in the mayor.

"That motion has got no basis. There is nothing wrong that the executive mayor has done. In actual fact, the city is in good control. As coalition partners, we have the city intact, everything is happening smoothly, yes there are challenges here and there but all those challenges are being managed, so really there is no basis for that motion of no confidence and it is going to be defeated,” said Magwentshu. 

Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks accused ActionSA of trying to destabilise the city. “We see the efforts of ActionSA as destabilising the municipality, but it is their democratic right to put the motion. ActionSA should focus on the 2024 elections and not create further instability in the City of Johannesburg.

“We feel there are no merits in their motion but that’s up to the council to decide. We don’t think that ActionSA has the numbers to succeed,” said Hendricks.

mbelet@sowetan.co.za

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