ANC and EFF members sing during the Johannesburg council meeting on Thursday.
- The first council sitting for the city of Johannesburg descended into chaos on Thursday afternoon.
- Councilors argued over the voting procedure for electing Section 79 committee chairs.
- President Vasco da Gama struggled to keep advisers silent, but EFF and ANC advisers sang along to his warnings.
A special Johannesburg city council session descended into chaos on Thursday over voting procedures for crucial supervisory board roles.
The first council sitting in Johannesburg had the following items on the agenda: Chairman of the Chairs and Chairs of all Section 79 Committees.
These committees oversee the management of the City.
The start time of the meeting was 10:00 a.m. However, at 5:30 p.m., none of the items on the agenda had been dealt with.
The crucial dispute was the voting process for the nominations.
The cross-party coalition, led by the DA and including parties such as ActionSA, backed an open, show of hands voting process.
The ANC and EFF supported the vote by secret ballot.
The standoff began after council chairman Vasco da Gama called on council officials to count the number of councilors in favor of a secret ballot and those who opposed it.
Civil servants were prevented by some advisers from carrying out their duties. Da Gama had to repeatedly reprimand advisers who prevented officials from counting.
The delays were further fueled by the constant chanting of ANC advisers led by caucus leader and former Johannesburg mayor Mpho Moerane.
The EFF also joined in on vocals.
As of 5:30 p.m., the council had not resumed.
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The ANC supported the secret ballot because it had decided that members on the ground would challenge some of the oversight committees.
The party is said to be in talks with other smaller political parties that are part of the council.
News24 had been informed that one of the parties involved in the negotiations with the ANC is Al Jama-ah – one of the members of the multi-party coalition.
The EFF was interested in leading some of the committees, even though it was not part of the coalition agreement.
The multi-party coalition had planned to propose its members.
The first council meeting of 2022 could be an indication of what to expect in the coming months, as no political party managed to win an outright majority in the 2021 municipal elections – setting the stage for a period of troubled government.
The DA managed to form a coalition partnership with over 10 political parties to govern the city.
Leadership roles in the mayor’s committee were split between each coalition partner, with DA member Mpho Phalatse as mayor.