Margaret Arnolds of the African Independent Congress (AIC) has secured the position of City of Johannesburg council speaker.
The extraordinary sitting held on Monday at the council in Braamfontein saw Arnolds voted in unopposed, with her being the sole nominee for the position.
Sunday World understands that the coalition comprising the ANC, EFF, Patriotic Alliance and other minority parties including Al Jama-ah, UDM, ATM, PAC, and the AIC played a pivotal role in endorsing Arnolds for the position.
The parties reportedly convened last week Thursday to discuss and unanimously agreed to elect Arnolds due to her commendable record.
DA protests election
However, the DA opted to skip the extraordinary meeting, expressing its desire for the entire Johannesburg council to be dissolved citing incompetence.
Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku, DA Johannesburg caucus leader, stated: “Our position remains clear, the Johannesburg council must be dissolved.
“We will not give legitimacy to the doomsday coalition while they are being frivolous with the taxpayers’ money.”
The DA’s decision not to attend the meeting sparked controversy, as the party insisted that there was no need for the gathering.
It argued that the election of a speaker could have been scheduled for the ordinary council sitting on November 29 and 30, saving an estimated R600 000 in expenses.
Kayser-Echeozonjoku emphasised the party’s belief that the ongoing challenges faced by Johannesburg require more than a change in leadership roles.
“The revolving door of mayors and speakers will not change Johannesburg’s dire situation. Both the executive and legislative arms of the council have failed the residents of Johannesburg – the only solution is the dissolution of the council,” said Kayser-Echeozonjoku.
The city speaker vacancy
The recent vacancy in the council speaker position came after the Congress of the People fired its speaker, Collen Makhubele.
Makhubele’s removal prevented her from continuing as the speaker, as her party had ousted her following allegations that she misrepresented the party’s affiliation with the newly formed South African Rainbow Alliance.
Makhubele serves as a campaign face for the alliance and was chosen as the candidate-president of the pact.
The party said on Monday that she has terminated her own membership by acting unduly.