Herman Mashaba. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Herman Mashaba. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

DA councillors, who are concerned about the EFF’s growing influence in the City of Johannesburg, have accused mayor Herman Mashaba of pandering to the whims of the party on crucial issues.

The councillors are said to have held a heated caucus meeting at which a line was drawn in the sand for Mashaba.

'Two days after the heated caucus meeting, EFF leader Julius Malema described Mashaba as “our mayor” in Parliament, referring to his party. President Cyril Ramaphosa has also lauded Mashaba for his stance on the expropriation of unoccupied and vandalised buildings in central Johannesburg.

Johannesburg is led by a coalition government that has the blessings of the EFF. Although not part of the coalition, the EFF gave its vote to the DA-led coalition, leading to Mashaba’s election as mayor.

Sources who attended the meeting told Business Day that the councillors were worried about land invasions in the city and that the EFF’s views were prioritised in the passing of some key motions. They were also concerned that the EFF was getting the top appointments it pushed for in the council.

Some thought service delivery was unsatisfactory as the DA had to satisfy a number of parties in dealing with it.

Members who attended the caucus said they did not think Mashaba could not lead them, but they wanted him to have more "backbone" in dealing with the EFF, the sources said.

"We have no right [to], nor do we want to, collapse our own government and walk away. But if the EFF can’t take that [disagreement by the DA in matters of principle] and they walk away from that, then so be it," a member said.

Another said that the DA caucus was forced to compromise on their principles to allow the EFF to have what it wanted and the sentiment was that this could no longer continue.

The EFF has already tabled a motion of no confidence against Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip — it is set to take place on March 29 — as the party says the DA has to be punished for voting against land expropriation without compensation in Parliament.

Malema said last week that the EFF would not use its voting numbers to remove either Mashaba or Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, as the pair did not sit in the DA’s national leadership like Trollip does.

It is understood DA leader Mmusi Maimane addressed the councillors before the discussion took place.

Mashaba told Business Day he did not comment on issues in caucus. DA regional chairman in Johannesburg Heinrich Volmink also declined to comment.