The City of Johannesburg has seen a change in leadership as Councillor Mpho Phalatse has been removed from her position as mayor. This decision was made during the first ordinary council sitting of the year on Thursday, where three motions of no confidence were brought against her. The first motion saw 140 councillors vote for her removal, with only 129 members of council voting for Phalatse to remain in her position.

Despite abstaining from the vote to move the motion of no confidence forward on the agenda, ActionSA voted with the DA against Phalatse’s removal. ActionSA councillor Lincoln Machaba stated that the party would vote with Phalatse, but that she would ultimately lose. He criticized the party for being “arrogant” and not supporting Phalatse.

Following the motion of no confidence, the nomination of a new mayor was set to take place. However, members of the DA argued that they did not bring their identity documents and therefore it was not a “free and fair” election. A notice from the secretary of council to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) stated that the item would take place on Friday.

Councillor Ashley Sauls from the Patriotic Alliance suggested that the DA members should go fetch their IDs. Speaker Colleen Makhubele, who narrowly escaped a motion of no confidence herself when ActionSA withdrew its motion, took the decision to defer the vote for the new mayor until Friday. She stated that “your ignorance and laziness in reading the agenda should not affect the vote.”

When the meeting reconvened on Friday, the nomination of a new mayor took place and Councillor Thapelo Amod from AL Jama-ah emerged as the new executive mayor. He stated that he was humbled by the support from his colleagues. The vote for Phalatse’s removal was a clear indication of the direction the council would take, with 140 members of the opposition voting for the motion and 50 members abstaining. Those who abstained were members of ActionSA and IFP. Despite her hopes for survival, Phalatse was unable to secure enough votes to remain in her position.

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