Byline: Andani Matumba

31 March 2022

After four months in office, the ship seems to be sinking for the Speaker of Council at Govan Mbeki Municipality as the council sat for the ordinary meeting on Thursday, 31 March 2022 at its Council Chambers in Secunda, and on the agenda was the motion of no confidence against the Speaker, Cllr Fikile Magagamela.

The motion of no confidence was tabled by Cllr Lwandile Ziwele of the African Transformation Movement (ATM) in terms of Section 39 and 40 of the Local Structures Act, seeking to remove the speaker from office.

According to section 40 of the Act, a municipal council by resolution may remove its speaker from office on the condition that prior notice of an intention to move a motion for the removal of the speaker is given.

During the proceedings, Cllr Thabiso Mofokeng (EFF) made a proposal for the speaker to recuse herself since she cannot preside on a matter that involves her.

The motion was adopted by the majority vote of the councillors by a show of hand with the results of 33 councillors supporting the motion and only 26 of the fraction opposing the motion.

Drama unfolded after the votes when the speaker continued to address the house when DA Cllr Encee van Huyssteen referred to the speaker as a “former speaker” who does not have the authority to proceed in chairing the meeting.

Cllr Nhlakanipho Zuma, Executive Mayor of GMM made a proposal for the council to enter into a debate before the council would proceed to a final vote to effect the removal of the speaker, the meeting was referred to a debate which was not concluded by the time the meeting was adjourned.

In his statement Cllr van Huyssteen said, “At this stage the ANC has a problem because they do not want to relinquish their power and they always have unfounded debates they want to put to the house”.

“As it stands with the rest of the opposition, the speaker is occupying the seat illegally but she continues to sit in the front, due to the forgoing we have no choice but to seek legal recourse.

In our opinion, we have voted out the speaker, we have no speaker as it stands and we need to vote for a new speaker”, added van Huysteen when asked about the position of the Democratic Alliance.

According to Cllr Mofokeng, the conduct of the speaker was unwelcoming because she does not comply by the rules of the council but imposes her own rules which are not related to the standing rules of the house.

The speaker is said to have been dragging the matter and delaying the vote.

Mofokeng further added that Cogta will have to be informed so that they intervene in the matter.