Solly Msimanga. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA
Solly Msimanga. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, who survived an attempt by the EFF and ANC to unseat him on a technicality, went on a charm offensive to win over the smaller party.

It would be "delusional" to think the coalition that runs the country’s capital could govern without the help of Julius Malema’s party, he said, after a day of political drama ended with him retaining the mayoral seat.

Msimanga did not face a vote on either of the two motions of no confidence tabled by the EFF and the ANC. The EFF’s motion failed on a technicality and their subsequent walkout meant the ANC’s motion did not even get off the ground.

The DA had risked losing its second mayor in a week, dealing another blow to its strategy of using its record at local councils under its administration to demonstrate its ability to deliver services and position itself as an alternative government nationally.

It also controls the Western Cape provincial government.

Athol Trollip was booted out as mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, the metro that includes Port Elizabeth, after a vote of no confidence on Monday, and was replaced by the United Democratic Movement’s Mongameli Bobani.

A victorious Msimanga thrust his fist into the air, surrounded by the DA caucus, after the council meeting was postponed due to it not making quorum, after first the EFF and then the ANC walked out.

The ANC’s motion will still be on the agenda when the council meets again. The party said its attempt to remove Msimanga was due to widespread corruption in the city.

The EFF accused the mayor of incompetence and cowardice in the face of what it called a racist white caucus.

It also said key submissions, such as the insourcing of workers and opening of clinics for 24 hours, had been ignored.

Msimanga told journalists the DA and the coalition’s aim now was to go back to work, as they had "been distracted for far too long". Asked about the trust relationship with the EFF, whose votes got him the mayoral chain, Msimanga said they would try and reach out to the EFF and work with them.

"It would be delusional for us to think we can do this without the EFF," Msimanga said.

Msimanga said even though they had no formal partnership with the firebrand party, the EFF had still voted with them on an issue-by-issue basis, which had helped the coalition pass budgets since taking over after the 2016 local government elections.

The EFF’s motion of no confidence in Msimanga was disallowed after the party failed to give a written motivation as to why the motion was urgent, as required by council rules. The party then left the meeting and did not return, shattering the chances of the ANC’s motion to remove the mayor being successful.

The ANC in Tshwane told the council that it would join a possible court bid by the EFF to challenge the decision, and said it would not "waste" its time by voting on the motion, before most of the caucus marched out.

The EFF is the swing vote in council with 25 seats. The ANC has 89 seats, while the DA has 93 seats. The rest is made up of smaller parties. The motion needed 108 votes to pass.

The EFF’s Benjamin Disoloane said shortly after they left that the party would approach the courts on the matter, but would also table a new motion to the speaker.

"We are going to make sure that sooner or later Solly Msimanga is not the mayor," Disoloane said, citing the months-long attempts to remove Trollip from office.