Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

The ANC in Johannesburg has withdrawn its motion of no confidence against mayor Herman Mashaba. 

The party also withdrew the two motions of no confidence against chair of chair Alex Christians and chief whip Kevin Wax, on Thursday.

The ANC plans to re-table the motions for the September council meeting, but speaker Vasco Da Gama said after the withdrawal that it would not automatically be brought back.

The withdrawal comes a day after the party was adamant that it had enough votes to pass the three motions.

Thursday marked exactly three years since Mashaba was elected as mayor of Johannesburg for the DA, leading a minority coalition government. It was the second motion Mashaba would have faced, after one in 2017 was defeated as the ANC, which is the biggest party in the council, did not have enough votes.

ANC Johannesburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said after the meeting that the motions were “tactically” withdrawn, after negotiations with those who were willing to support the motions continued “up to the door of the council”.

Matongo said a “few screws” had to be tightened, but that the reason for the motions still stood. 

He said everything was in order on Wednesday, but on Thursday several matters were placed on the table in relation to the first day in office, if the motion were to succeed. This related to who will be the mayor, the members of the mayoral committee and committee chairs if they did get into power, Matongo said. 

“We needed to make sure everybody is happy so that when the motion succeeds we do not have problems that other partners and those who support us … say those matters were not ironed out,” Matongo said.

He said they had to be specific as to who would hold which positions. 

Mashaba questioned the ANC's reasons for withdrawing the motions after the party claimed that it had the support it needed, adding that the residents and employees of the city were subjected to six weeks of uncertainty.

“To withdraw the motion at the last minute like this is totally unacceptable,” Mashaba said. 

Mashaba said he was angry, as it was unfair towards the residents and the employees of the city. 

He said if the grounds for the motion — the financial collapse of the metro — stood, it would have been urgent for the ANC to table and debate the motion, but that the withdrawal merely proved that it was frivolous.

Silumko Mabona, secretary of the EFF in Johannesburg said the EFF would disclose its position on the motion once it was tabled and debated. 

The EFF is the kingmaker in the metro, with its votes helping to elect Mashaba in 2016. Earlier in 2019, EFF leader Julius Malema said the party would no longer vote for the DA in municipalities across the country in which it needed the EFF's votes. 

The ANC in Johannesburg had said after the statement by Malema that it might have to test the EFF's resolve in this, given that Mashaba and the EFF have a good working relationship. 

Mabona said the party was ready for the motion to be tabled so that it could demonstrate to the residents of the city what the EFF was about in terms of ensuring that their interests were kept in mind.