EFF doesn’t show up for Joburg council meeting, ANC leaves

Parks Tau, the leader of the opposition, the African National Congress, in the City of Johannesburg, debates the State of the City Address earlier this year.

It was a no-show for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) caucus at a city council meeting on 31 August.

This caused the Democratic Alliance (DA) to withdraw important items on the agenda even though there was a quorum, meaning there were enough councillors present to approve or reject recommendations.

This decision meant that important matters, such as the financial oversight reports and the institutional review, could not be discussed by councillors who were present.

Opposition parties heavily criticised the DA’s decision, calling it a dishonour to councillors who are tasked with considering the critical oversight reports. African National Congress (ANC) Joburg caucus leader, Parks Tau, told council that the withdrawal of these items was an affront to democracy.

“You deny the people the knowledge that the City is a financial disaster,” Tau said, referring to the City’s R3.3 billion revenue shortfall in May. “The EFF will not change the financial disaster.”

Since there was a quorum in council, Tau said there was no reason to withdraw the items simply because the EFF was not present. “The people [councillors] sitting here constitute almost 90 per cent of who the people voted for.”

In reply, MMC for Development Planning, Funzela Ngobeni, said he would continue to withdraw the items since he had the permission to do so.

ANC councillors responded by leaving the meeting and without a quorum, the Speaker of Council, Vasco Da Gama, was forced to call it a day.

The EFF Joburg spokesperson, Silumko Mabona, had not responded to questions at the time of going to print about why the party did not show up at the meeting but said he would do so soon. The story will be updated once the comment is received.

NOTE: Although the EFF and the DA are not in a coalition, their partnership is what keeps the DA government in Joburg afloat. Most, if not all city council’s decisions are likely discussed between the DA and the EFF before it is proposed. Without the EFF’s vote, the ANC would have the majority vote in council.

The DA withdrew important items because it would not have been able to pass its recommendations without the EFF’s input.


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