Vasco da Gama was voted out as speaker of the Johannesburg council after losing a vote of no confidence.
- The DA-led coalition government in Johannesburg said it would have to regroup after some of its coalition partners helped remove the DA’s speaker Vasco da Gama.
- Da Gama was voted out of office at a council sitting on Thursday at 01:00.
- In the motion of no confidence in Da Gama, opposition parties accused him of unlawfully appointing an acting secretary of council.
The first test of the DA’s coalition partnership played out in the Johannesburg council on Thursday as Vasco da Gama was voted out as speaker of the council, with the help of parties who are in a coalition arrangement with the DA.
During the vote, 136 councillors voted for the motion of no confidence in Da Gama, and 132 against.
He was accused of unlawfully appointing an acting council secretary and concealing the matter.
The motion of no confidence was brought by opposition political parties, including the African Independent Congress.
It was supported by the ANC and the EFF, who hold substantial numbers in the council. But the opposition block did not have enough numbers to remove Da Gama on their own.
The DA governs Johannesburg through coalition arrangements with political parties such as ActionSA, the ACDP, Cope, Patriotic Alliance, and Freedom Front Plus.
What ensured Da Gama’s removal was that the DA’s coalition partners turned away from the arrangement to support Da Gama.
TIF News has been informed by sources in the coalition that councillors from Cope, ACDP and the IFP had backed the motion.
Ahead of the vote, the DA was confident that the motion would fail, but its coalition partners’ support proved this to be fruitless.
Allegations of bribery to sway some coalition partners marred the lead-up to the council sitting.
Voting happened on Thursday at 01:00 after a marathon council sitting, which saw several caucus breaks.
Opposition political parties celebrated as Da Gama read out the result of the vote of no confidence for his removal.
In a statement, Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse took aim at those in the coalition block who supported the motion.
Phalatse herself escaped a no-confidence motion after a request was dismissed on a technicality.
She said the business of running the council would continue despite Da Gama’s removal.
According to Phalatse, the coalition government in Johannesburg would do some introspection because the City could not afford the return of the ANC into office.
“We note with utter shame that certain coalition members elected to vote in favour of the motion. We are also aware that there were allegations of bribery ahead of the motion, which will be detailed in an affidavit. As the multi-party government, we will introspect on what needs to be done to regroup, as Joburg cannot afford to be handed back to a cabal who place self-interest ahead of the needs of Joburg’s six million residents,” Phalatse said in a statement on Thursday morning.
“We are nonetheless confident that we will restore order. This is but a speed hump on a long road. The repair and rebuild of South Africa’s economic hub have just begun. Therefore, our work is far from over. We intend on completing this term of office,” she added.
It was unclear who would replace Da Gama.