DA says no confidence motions won’t save Joburg, calls for city to dissolve council and return power to residents

Joburg MMC for Development and Planning Belinda Echeozonjoku proposed a motion to debate the Johannesburg council's dissolution.

Joburg MMC for Development and Planning Belinda Echeozonjoku proposed a motion to debate the Johannesburg council’s dissolution.

  • The Johannesburg DA caucus has asked the council to table a motion to dissolve the city’s government.
  • Caucus leader Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku proposed the “motion without notice” at the sitting of council on Tuesday.
  • Her proposal went unnoticed as the house decorum was such that she was not acknowledged. 

The DA has asked the Johannesburg council to table a motion to debate the council’s dissolution on 2 November.

DA Johannesburg caucus leader Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku proposed the “motion without notice” on Tuesday after the council voted to move the motions to the back of the agenda later this week at the 21st extraordinary sitting of council.

News24 understands that the DA would stage a walkout if Speaker Colleen Makhubele refused the tabling of the motion.

Kayser-Echeozonjoku has denied this.

The result was unremarkable. The council barely acknowledged her presence, and the committee continued with the recommendations to the council.

The very next action was a councillor who rose to complain about the staff dishing out lunch.

Speaking outside the house, Kayser-Echeozonjoku said the DA was not happy with the reaction in the council.

“We are not satisfied with the reaction we received. It talks to the disrespect of the Speaker and the [government of local unity – the ANC, EFF and PA coalition]. They don’t care, and they are disrespectful.”

She said this culture was one of the reasons why the government needed to be dissolved.

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

Kayser-Echeozonjoku also spoke about Tuesday’s motions being pushed to the back of the agenda.

She said that the changes to the schedule meant that councillors were unprepared because what was meant to be heard the following day would suddenly be at the top of the agenda.

“That’s why we had to bring a ‘motion without notice’ because the motions were moved.”

At the beginning of the day, the council focused on questions and answers. Two members of the council who were mandated to be in council to respond were absent.

Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda and Transport MMC Kenny Kunene did not respond to questions. They said they did not receive them. The opposition parties said there was proof the questions had been sent.

DA MP and the party’s public service and administration spokesperson, Leon Schreiber, said that by dissolving the council, the power would be given back to residents who could vote for a new government.

Since the 2021 local government election, Joburg has had six changes of government and four different mayors.

He said the constant change in government was causing the city’s instability and that the DA could not support ActionSA’s motion of no confidence in Gwamanda, which had been set down for Tuesday.

ActionSA withdrew the motion. 

DA leader John Steenhuisen wrote to ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba to say that the DA no longer believed that motions of no confidence could save Johannesburg from the impact of ANC/EFF governance.

News24 understands that the motion to dissolve the government comes from the national DA and not all Johannesburg DA councillors were on board.

ALSO READ | Former Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse resigns as councillor, will return to medical career

For the motion to go ahead, the party needs the buy-in of two-thirds of the council.

However, Schreiber said the Johannesburg DA caucus was unanimous in the decision to table the dissolution of the government.

He said the party would now go to their coalition partners with the idea.

He said if political parties were genuinely concerned with the city’s residents and not with personal power, they would agree that dissolving the current government was the only way.

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