John Steenhuisen Budget Speech 2020

DA leader interim leader John Steenhuisen – Image: Wikus de Wet/ AFP

A backstory of betrayal: How the ANC took Joburg from the DA

Here’s a detailed account of how the Democratic Alliance lost control of the City of Gold.

John Steenhuisen Budget Speech 2020

DA leader interim leader John Steenhuisen – Image: Wikus de Wet/ AFP

The co-operative governance agreement between the DA and the EFF in Johannesburg came unstuck this week because the DA did not want to agree to the EFF assuming the speakership of the metro council.

Sources in both parties have confirmed that after several days of horse-trading between the DA and EFF, the EFF declared itself willing to vote for DA candidate Funzi Ngobeni in the mayoral ballot if the DA agreed to let the party in red have the speakership and five chairpersonships of committees. The EFF demanded no positions on the mayoral committee.

Although DA Gauteng leader John Moodey and the party’s provincial chairperson, Mike Moriarty, were seen by EFF sources to be more amenable to the idea of an EFF speaker, Moodey would not be drawn on the subject, and he flatly denied being overruled on the issue by DA interim leader John Steenhuisen and DA federal executive chairperson Helen Zille.

Moriarty said he and Moodey were merely passing messages to and fro and that the DA had acted as a collective, but because everything had been left to the last minute, communication was tough. In future, negotiations had to start earlier, he said.

The DA ‘kicked a good offer in the teeth’

In the EFF, the allegation is that the DA actually wanted to lose Johannesburg – they kicked a good offer in the teeth. EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu pointed out that the ANC candidate would not have been able to attain an overall majority if several DA councillors had not supported him. Shivambu said the return to power of the ANC would aid corruption in Johannesburg.

Steenhuisen said at a briefing on Thursday to the parliamentary press corps that the EFF’s votes would not have been enough for the DA’s Ngobeni to be elected anyway, so the whole matter is purely academic. He did promise to act against ill-discipline in the party, but said the secret vote made it difficult to identify culprits.

“We also know that some of the parties we were in coalition with did not stick to the coalition agreement. When the new appointments as mayoral committee members and committee chairs are announced, we shall see who are not wearing trousers,” Steenhuisen said.

At least two DA councillors sided with the ANC

The ANC has 121 seats in the Johannesburg metro council, the DA 104, the EFF has 30, the IFP has five, the AIC has four, the FF Plus has one, the ACDP has one, Al Jamaah has one, the UDM has one, COPE has one and the Patriotic Alliance has one.

During the voting, ANC candidate Geoff Makhubo polled 137 votes to DA candidate Ngobeni’s 101 and Musa Novela (EFF) 30 votes. With the lone FF Plus councillor, Franco de Lange, stating openly that he voted for the DA, it means that somewhere between two and six DA councillors are cuckolds in the fold – the number of ANC voters in the DA caucus being dependent on how many of the DA’s erstwhile coalition partners joined the IFP in siding with the ANC.

The new mayor, who is linked to state capture-type allegations totalling R30-million by investigative journalism outfit amaBhungane, said service delivery through ensuring that, for instance, traffic lights work and potholes are fixed, will be his priority.

On behalf of the DA, Moriarty said it is a sad day for Johannesburg that the city has fallen into the hands of “professional looters” and the EFF’s Shivambu claimed DA infighting and ill-discipline were to blame for the “corrupt” ANC returning to the helm.

FF Plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald also said that the unfortunate fact is that DA infighting led to the ANC taking control of Johannesburg.