Solly Msimanga
Solly Msimanga

There was a heavy police presence in the Pretoria CBD on Thursday morning‚ ahead of a crucial sitting of the city council that will decide mayor Solly Msimanga’s fate.

The police separated DA and ANC followers‚ who have come in their hundreds to support their respective political parties ahead of motions of no confidence, which will be heard at 2pm.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane addressed party supporters from the back of an open truck outside Sammy Marks Square‚ where council chambers are situated. He said they were there to fight attempts to return the city to the ANC through the support of the EFF.

Msimanga faces separate motions no confidence from the ANC and the EFF‚ and all indications are that he will be voted out by a combined majority from the two parties. Msimanga angered the EFF by taking action against city manager Moeketsi Mosola over a R12bn contract awarded to engineering consultancy GladAfrica to manage the city’s infrastructure projects for three years.

The EFF‚ which voted with the DA in 2016 to give it control of the city‚ accuses the Tshwane mayor of failing to consult them about the action taken against Mosola.

Should Msimanga be removed‚ the EFF has said it will support an ANC candidate‚ who is likely to be the party’s regional leader‚ Kgoshi Maepa‚ or back the DA again if it presents another candidate.

EFF leader Julius Malema had called on the DA to nominate another candidate from the party to take over from Msimanga‚ but following an urgent meeting on Wednesday‚ leader Maimane refused to do so. “We stand firmly and resolutely behind the mayor of Tshwane‚” Maimane said at a press briefing following the meeting. “Come [Thursday]‚ we will not be presenting a different candidate.”