AIC’s Margaret Arnolds elected new Joburg speaker
Margaret Arnolds from the African Independent Congress (AIC) has been elected unopposed as speaker in the City of Johannesburg.
Arnolds will occupy the hot seat after the axing of Colleen Makhubele, whose membership of COPE was terminated last week.
According to the ANC/EFF/PA-led coalition government, the position of speaker is allocated to a minority bloc and it resolved the vacancy should be filled by Arnolds.
Arnolds has served the executive as a former MMC and leads the minority parties bloc.
ANC regional secretary Sasabona Manganye told TimesLIVE Arnolds was not new to leadership and he believed she would represent the coalition well.
“We have no doubt she will perform and excel in the position of speaker. She has been very consistent, having been at the centre of leading and uniting the minority parties since 2016. She has played that critical role and we are confident that because she did well as an MMC, she will do well as speaker. Our support for her candidature is very clear and we trust she will work for the people of Johannesburg.”
Arnolds expressed her eagerness for the new role, saying this would demonstrate her party’s readiness to govern.
“Occupying the position of speaker in council would demonstrate the AIC is able to govern and that we have credible people. Despite being a small party, we are a party with influence. We have been leading the minority party bloc since inception. Rallying the smaller parties together was my brainchild,” she said.
“As a speaker, I would want to have the confidence of every councillor in the city and not be biased to one lot of councillors. I would want to ensure council is run smoothly and the 6-million residents of Johannesburg have services delivered to them.”
The DA boycotted the extraordinary council sitting which elected Arnolds, calling it a waste of taxpayer money. It criticised the revolving doors of mayors and speakers, calling for a complete dissolution of council and fresh elections.
The incumbent lambasted the DA’s call for the dissolution of council and fresh elections, saying this was not genuine.
“They do not have two-thirds of the council vote so they cannot make that call. The call is not even justified. If they can account for what they have done when they had power and were in government, then maybe they could have grounds to make such a call. But they have done nothing for Joburg. They’ve just serviced the leafy suburbs in the north and neglected everyone else.
“That is what I would like to change. I would like to see the ratepayers as well as the people in informal settlement and everyone else get services. I would also like to see strengthened oversight of the executive by the legislature.”
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