POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Battle for control of Johannesburg continues
An announcement about the future of e-tolls may take place on Thursday
The battle for control of Johannesburg, SA’s economic hub, will continue this week as the council sits again to try to elect Herman Mashaba’s replacement as mayor.
The council sat on Thursday last week to elect a new mayor, but proceedings were stalled over the interpretation of what constitutes a majority vote.
This led to council speaker Vasco da Gama postponing the election to December 4 and 5 to get an independent legal opinion on what constitutes a majority when electing a mayor.
The DA, EFF and ANC are all fielding candidates for the position. The EFF has nominated its regional chair and caucus leader, Musa Novela, for the post, while the DA has proposed its regional leader and finance member of the mayoral committee (MMC), Funzela Ngobeni. The ANC’s regional chair, Geoff Makhubo, will represent the party in the contest.
Whoever wins will wield much influence on how the city spends the R65.5bn allocated for the 2019/2020 financial year.
A postcabinet media briefing is expected to take place on Thursday, with a possible announcement on its decision on the future of e-tolls in Gauteng. A task team established by President Cyril Ramaphosa whittled the options down to seven — including the user-pays principle — and these were presented to the cabinet, which is debating the issue.
Gauteng motorists have not been paying their e-toll bills. Roads agency Sanral said it is collecting only 25%-30% of what it should be collecting from e-tolls on Gauteng freeways.
This is the last week that parliament is sitting, after which it will go into recess until the end of January.
On Tuesday the National Assembly will receive three reports, one from the rules committee that deals with draft rules for removing office bearers and commissioners in institutions that support constitutional democracy, including the public protector.
National Assembly rules and section 194 of the constitution set broad parameters for removing office bearers or commissioners in these chapter nine institutions. The new draft rules elaborate on these and specify the process to be followed.
The National Assembly will also receive a report from the portfolio committee on justice that recommends not to restore advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi to their positions in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Jiba was a deputy national director of public prosecutions, the second in command at the NPA; Mrwebi headed the special directorate of public prosecutions. Last week the committee found no compelling reasons for them to be restored to office, a key requirement by the National Prosecuting Authority Act if parliament is to overrule Ramaphosa’s decision to fire them.
Parliament’s standing committee on finance will on Tuesday be briefed on Steinhoff by the Public Investment Corporation and the Government Employees Pension Fund.
At Wednesday’s National Assembly sitting two recommended statutory appointments are on the agenda: the commissioner for the Public Service Commission and deputy public protector.
The ANC majority on parliament’s justice committee controversially decided last week to recommend Kholeka Gcaleka as deputy public protector despite strong objections by opposition parties. Gcaleka is the special adviser to public service & administration minister Senzo Mchunu and was special adviser to former home affairs and former finance minister Malusi Gigaba.