UPDATE | ActionSA blames DA for its withdrawal of motion of no confidence in Joburg mayor

Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda.

Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda.

Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

  • Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda was set to face a motion of no confidence this week. 
  • But ActionSA has decided to withdraw the motion.
  • The DA was unwilling to discuss coalition agreements that involved the Patriotic Alliance meaning the motion will not succeed.

ActionSA will withdraw the motion of no confidence to remove Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda.

Gwamanda, a councillor from Al Jama-ah, was set to face a motion filed by ActionSA when council met this week. 

But ActionSA on Monday confirmed decision against motion of no confidence. 

News24 understands from leaders close to the talks that a series of meetings between ActionSA, IFP, FF Plus and the Patriotic Alliance failed to garner support from the DA to allow the motion against Gwamanda to succeed. 

The DA’s decision not to support rekindling a coalition arrangement involving the PA meant the motion against Gwamanda would fail. 

ActionSA leaders wanted the motion withdrawn to avoid further political turbulence in the City of Johannesburg, News24 was told. 

READ: POLITICS THIS WEEK | Joburg’s musical mayoral chairs continue, but DA wants to dissolve council instead

ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont blamed the DA’s unwillingness to negotiate as the primary reason why the motion would probably not go ahead.

The motion was seen as the first test for the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa in its mission to keep the ANC and EFF out of government. 

The DA, ActionSA, FF-Plus, IFP and three other parties signed a deal two weeks ago which irons out a plan to co-govern in 2024, and keep ANC and the EFF from power if the ANC dips below 50% in the polls. 

Beaumont said the DA had gone back on its commitment to do everything possible to keep the ANC from power.  

“At the sidelines of the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa, leaders of the IFP, Freedom Front Plus, ActionSA, and DA discussed Johannesburg, and the DA committed itself to talks in the following week ahead of the motion of no confidence,” he told News24.

“Efforts to ensure the DA commits to this promise have been unsuccessful. The DA has refused to attend any meetings and has written that they are unwilling to work with the PA and would not support the motion of no confidence. 

READ: PA willing to dump ANC for DA, ActionSA moonshot pact

“The DA proposed an amendment to the motion and instead supported a move to dissolve the municipal council. Such an amendment would require a two-thirds majority, and this demonstrates that this move is not sincere. Allowing the motion to be heard and defeated would be allowing further damage to the Multi-party Charter, and that we should not allow.”

The DA has repeatedly refused to work with the PA despite the party’s leader, Gayton McKenzie, promising to relinquish a working relationship with the ANC in several municipalities.

News24 understands that the PA, in side discussions on supporting the motion, was willing to help vote out Gwamanda as long as they did not lose the mayoral committee positions the party has in Joburg in its partnership with the ANC and EFF.

The PA holds two mayoral committee positions, with the party’s deputy leader Kenny Kunene serving as MMC for transport. 

The PA also offered Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, where the DA’s coalition was recently ousted. 

READ: They ‘walk out’ and ‘flip-flop’: John Steenhuisen still wary of PA joining multiparty pact

Gauteng DA chairperson Fred Nel defended the party’s decision not to support any talks with the PA.

He repeated party leader John Steenhuisen’s position that the PA could not be trusted.

“The PA has changed its position three times since 2021 on which coalition they want to join. So we cannot afford that,” Nel told News24.

Nel instead of supporting the motion to remove Gwamanda, the DA would rather bring forward a motion proposing that council be dissolved and fresh elections held.

The dissolution of council motion the DA wants could see the council dissolved and fresh by-elections held for a new mandate from voters.

But the success of such a motion is slim because it not only requires a majority, which the DA does not have, but it will also rely on support from the ANC or the EFF. 

Nel said despite the high threshold required for such a motion to succeed; the DA believes Joburg residents were entitled to a new mandate. 

“Voters need to be offered the opportunity to make a choice, even if the election results turn out to be the same,” Nel said. 

FF Plus leader Corne Mulder told News24 that his party was disappointed by the DA’s decsion not to back a motion to “keep the ANC and the EFF from office”. 

Gwamanda was elected as mayor earlier this year to replace fellow Al Jama-ah member Thapelo Amad.

Johannesburg is one of several hung municipalities left with no majority, meaning coalition formations have grappled with the council’s agenda several times since the elections. 

The City has had four mayors since 2021. 

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