The ANC says it is confident that its wooing of the EFF to support its motion of no confidence against City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and DA speaker Vasco da Gama will yield results, after the EFF expressed regret over backing the mayor.
ANC Johannesburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo told News24 that ANC provincial chair Paul Mashatile has been handling the talks with the EFF’s national leadership in the party’s attempt to oust Mashaba.
He has acknowledged that the ANC will need the EFF to back the motion this week.
“We think they may support us to remove Mashaba but they may not support us to bring the ANC back in power, but it’s a discussion we are prepared to have with the EFF at the right time,” Matongo said.
The talks are expected continue until just before the motion, Matongo said.
The Johannesburg council is set to sit on Wednesday and Thursday, with the ANC pushing for the motion against Mashaba to be heard on Wednesday. However, the DA wants the debate heard on Thursday.
‘Revolutionary forces should join hands’
The ANC has been buoyed by Malema’s recent comments at the Daily Maverick’s The Gathering that the EFF “made a mistake backing Mashaba”.
He said when faced with a choice between an “ANC mayor with a history of immediate corruption and a mayor of the DA who has no history of anything except selling hair products, you are bound to try the hair product man”, the Business Day reported.
Matongo said the comments were a sign that the EFF could back the ANC in council.
“We are confident, having listened to the EFF and read their seven cardinal pillars and everything they stand for and, given the situation in Joburg, [that] all revolutionary and democratic forces should join hands and take Mashaba out of office,” he said.
The ANC currently has 119 councillors in the 270-seat council. It said it already had the support of the Patriotic Alliance, with one seat, and the African Independent Congress, with four.
However, it will need the EFF’s 30 seats to secure a simple majority to remove Mashaba.
Matongo said talks with other smaller parties, including the IFP, were also in progress.
Attempts to reach the EFF were unsuccessful.
‘ANC incredibly nervous’
The DA sent out an email to supporters titled “We could lose Jozi”.
The party, which has 104 seats, has dismissed the motion as “frivolous and a diversion” by the ANC from claims by the DA that it has uncovered fraud and corruption amounting to up to R12bn since taking over the municipality from the ANC in 2016.
Mashaba’s spokesperson Luyanda Mfeka said the party was not worried about the motion.
“The sheer number of corruption investigations has made the ANC incredibly nervous,” he said explaining that the party was now doing everything in its power to remove Mashaba from office.
“I can’t speak for the EFF, but they have been on record on their opinion of ANC and their record of corruption… we can’t imagine them voting with the ANC,” he said.
The ANC and DA have been in public spats over allegations that the city’s finances are in the red, with the ANC claiming that the metro is on the “brink of collapse”.
The ANC claims that the DA has failed to provide proof of the multi-billion rand corruption it claims to have uncovered and is instead using the claims to tarnish the ANC’s image ahead of the 2019 elections which are expected to be hard-fought.
“They don’t have a plan for the city but paint the ANC with the brush of corruption so that when we go to 2019 they can say the ANC has a corrupt administration,” Matongo said.
The DA has, in turn, dismissed claims that the city is on the brink of collapse, blaming the city’s financial challenges on projects it inherited from the ANC government.
By Mahlatse Mahlase for News24