The axe has fallen on DA mayor Mpho Phalatse after opposition parties voted her out of of power at an urgent council sitting on Friday.
Newly appointed speaker Colleen Makhubele did not waste time igniting the process of removing the DA government in the City of Johannesburg. Makhubele yesterday called for an urgent sitting of the council to remove the governing multi-party Ccalition.
The ‘betrayal’ by the Patriotic Alliance (PA) during the election of Makhubele as speaker, left the Coalition fragmented and desperate. The PA had accused the coalition of being selfish by giving three key positions – mayor, speaker and chief whip – in the city to the DA.
Phalatse was removed from her seat with 139 votes. The Star understands that she had tried to interdict council and halt the process of removing her.
There were jeers and ululation as the new government of Johannesburg was preparing to settle in.
Al-Jama-ah leader, Thapelo Amad told The Star that Phalatse’s removal was a victory for service delivery in Johannesburg.
“The residents of Johannesburg especially those in poor areas will now have a voice. The DA was only servicing their rich constituency,” Amad said.
Some councillors from the multi-party coalition boycotted council but only 136 members were required for a quorum
A new coalition is expected to be formed with the ANC at its helm and Dada Morero as its leader. Morero will succeed the deceased mayors of the ANC, Jolidee Matongo, Geoff Makhubo, and Mpho Moerane.
Makhubele’s move to call for an urgent council sitting saw two major members of the coalition, the DA and Action SA, fighting each other over their dire situation.
The Star has seen a document showing why the opposition parties booted out Phalatse, including her involvement in the Field Band grant scandal, which police are investigating.
“Councilor Mpho Phalatse failed to disclose to the council her criminal case related to her alleged corruption related to the field band foundation conflict of interest. This lack of disclosure and accountability demonstrates the executive mayor’s unethical behaviour to account to council and the people of Johannesburg,” the document said.
Another reason for the opposition wanting Phalatse out was her failure to report quarterly on council resolutions.
“The executive mayor is in contempt of council as indicated in rule 37 (1) which states the mayor must report on a quarterly basis on the implementation of all council resolutions,” the document said.
Phalatse had also been accused of spending more than R40m on legal fees. The money was spent on legal firms used to ‘purge’ municipal employees.
“To date the city is experiencing a cash flow crisis and the city is now operating on overdraft,” the document said.
Phalatse was also accused of protecting former Group Forensic and Investigation Services head, Shadrack Sibiya who was accused of spying on certain councillors. His appointment was also deemed irregular by the City Manager.