The ANC‘s legal bid for the nullification of the September 27 Tshwane council sitting where Mayor Solly Msimanga survived the party‘s motion of no confidence against him has failed after being dismissed by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
Last year, the ANC in Tshwane approached the court on an urgent basis to have the council sitting declared void and to allow for a motion of no confidence to take place through a secret ballot.
This after a second motion brought by the ANC to have Msimanga removed was unsuccessful in September.
A total of 77 council members voted in favour of the motion, 95 voted against and 21 members, including those from the EFF, abstained.
This was after council speaker Katlego Mathebe‘s refusal to allow a vote via secret ballot. The sitting was also considerably delayed after a dispute about the validity of the meeting.
The sitting had been a continuation of the August 30 sitting where Mathebe thwarted a motion of no confidence against Msimanga brought by the EFF, disallowing the motion due to technical flaws.
The ANC argued that Mathebe‘s refusal to allow a secret ballot was tantamount to the “improper exercise of the discretion afforded to her”.
“There is now a situation where members of council fear for their safety and cannot vote freely,” the ANC caucus and regional leader Kgosi Maepa claimed in an affidavit.
The ANC complained of the speaker‘s late arrival to the council meeting, claiming that this contravened council rules. The party said she also failed to conduct a head count of council members by 10:40 to make sure they constituted a quorum.
In his judgment on Monday, Judge Thina Siwenda dismissed the ANC‘s application with costs.
“The tally of votes is not in dispute,” Siwenda said, adding that it would be “inappropriate to shift the onus onto the speaker” in the face of the facts presented.
“I find no basis to the complaint and that the meeting was unlawful.”
On Mathebe‘s refusal to allow a secret ballot, Siwenda said he was unable to find her decision irrational or that there were grounds for the court to intervene in the exercise of her discretion as speaker.
The ANC‘s motion, in part, relates to the ongoing GladAfrica saga.
Engineering company GladAfrica and the City have been at the centre of allegations of tender irregularities for the past two months following reports that the company scored a R12bn deal to provide the City with project management support.