The Johannesburg Council has a new speaker. For now, anyway, One week after the mayorship changed hands from the DA to the ANC, the house speaker has also made a switch of allegiences. Nonceba Molwele has replaced Vasco Da Gama in the role.- but the legality of his position is set to come under intense scrutiny.

Vaso Da Gama gone – but who is the speaker of Johannesburg Council?

Neither the DA or the EFF attended Wednesday’s meeting, as both parties were under the impression that it was unlawful to elect Molwele. Amidst the chaos of Geoff Makhubo’s victory seven days ago, a challenge was also launched against the incumbent speaker. Sure enough, a motion of no confidence was filed, and the numbers couldn’t have been more divisive.

There were 135 votes against the politician, in a house of 270 seats. This technically isn’t a majority, but only 268 voters were available on that day. Da Gama was ousted by the barest of margins, but the DA didn’t accept the result as it did not reflect the full representatives of the house.

DA councillors defy party once more

So, why did the meeting go ahead today? That’s because the ANC were able to form a quorum – the minimum number of members an assembly needs to make a meeting valid. And, what’s more, they were aided by the help of two DA members.

For the second time in the week, multiple DA councillors have ignored the party whip. At least two ‘defectors’ helped vote Makhubo into power at the start of the month, and two others broke ranks on Wednesday to attend the session. According to DA provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty, the pair will “face consequences”.

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the outcome of today’s meeting which we have never regarded as being legal. As such, we are considering our options and are obtaining advice. We want to make one thing clear, we have no difficulty in taking up seats in opposition benches.”

“However, two DA Councillors defied the Caucus Whip and will thus face consequences. We will continue to hold this new government accountable and fight against a return to looting and the destruction of successes achieved by 3 years of a DA-led government.”

Mike Moriarty

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Presh JM Reporter

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