The South African city of Johannesburg is facing yet another episode of political uncertainty as a group of political parties has decided to stand together to oust the current mayor of the city, Thapelo Amad. The motion of no confidence was submitted by Action SA and will be supported by the Patriotic Alliance, according to its leader Gayton McKenzie. McKenzie allegedly said the Democratic Alliance (DA), Freedom Front Plus (FF+), and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), amongst others, would also support the motion of no confidence. While Action SA announced its intentions on April 11th, the vote for the motion of no confidence would take place on April 25th.
The motion of no confidence comes after Action SA’s leader Funzi Ngobeni pointed out how service delivery in Gauteng, the province in which Johannesburg is located, had continued to deteriorate since Amad assumed office.
“Action SA will today submit motions of no confidence in the City of Johannesburg puppet-mayor Thapelo Amad, the dishonest Speaker Colleen Makhubele and other office bearers who were all appointed through crooked dealings between the ANC’s (African National Congress) Gauteng Provincial Chairperson, Panyaza Lesufi, and the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters),” Ngobeni said.
The motion of no confidence is further motivated after Amad claimed, during an interview on national television, that the city of Johannesburg had managed to secure a prospective loan of R 9.5 billion ($525,000) to fund the provision of services and a smart city. These comments were met with skepticism and described as embarrassing by McKenzie.
“This is really embarrassing, what is the mayor saying? What loan? Where and when was this discussed? Which company is giving this loan? We cannot continue defending such stupidity, we must admit that we played a part in this mess, we must fix our mistake soonest,” Mckenzie wrote on Twitter.
Ngobeni agreed with McKenzie’s sentiments. “Most recently, Amad has shown his inability to understand the basics of a loan agreement in a television interview. While political differences may have characterized the tenure of previous mayors and speakers, it would be safe to say that residents and businesses are embarrassed by what the ANC and EFF have served up to lead the economic hub of our country,” Ngobeni said.
Amad later clarified what he meant with regard to the R 9.5 billion loan. He claimed that there was no enforceable agreement in place and that it was merely a proposal.
The city of Johannesburg has experienced a turbulent period of late with regard to the mayorship. The mayor’s office has been occupied by three different mayors in the span of a few months. The DA’s Mpho Phalatse was removed from office after a motion of no confidence submitted against her was successful in September 2022. She was replaced by Dada Morero of the ANC, who assumed office for three weeks before Phalatse was reinstated by a court that found the procedure of Phalatse’s removal had not been duly followed. However, she was removed again in January 2023, with the ANC, the EFF, and the PA joining forces to vote in Amad.
McKenzie has admitted his party made a mistake in voting in favor of Amad. “We must put the citizens of Joburg first and admit we have backed the wrong horse. Thapelo Amad has been asked to climb a mountain too high for him. It’s not just harming Joburg, it’s destroying him too. We will rectify this blunder. Amad should resign now. We apologize profusely,” he wrote on Twitter.
He went on to suggest that he would be willing to take on the role of Johannesburg’s mayor. “As I did in the Central Karoo, I will work as the Joburg mayor for no more than one year. Only one year is needed to remodel our great city and restore its shine. In the Central Karoo, after one year, investment – and hope – have boomed,” he wrote.