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The ASRI Report with Muhammad Cajee

Fahmida Choonara | fchoonara@radioislam.co.za
5 May 2023 | 17:00 CAT
3 min read

Photo Credit: WORDCRAFTBYANNISA

ASRI’s Executive Director Muhammad Cajee joined Ml Sulaimaan Ravat to discuss the political musical chairs played in Johannesburg. This week was the second council meeting to elect a new mayor after Thapelo Ahmad from the Al Jamah Party resigned after pressure from the Patriotic-ANC-EFF coalition. The PA was then in discussions with the DA-ActionSA coalition yesterday to reach a consensus on a mayoral candidate.

The question posed then was, “Which side is the PA on?”

According to Cajee, Gayton McKenzie is a “politician for hire” as he chooses the coalition depending on what he is offered.

He explained that the EFF on the ANC side had refused to support an ANC candidate. Therefore, the ANC backed the Al Jamah candidate, Kabelo Gwamanda, satisfying the EFF condition and one placed by Thapelo Ahmad when he was asked to resign by Panyaza Lesufi.

The DA is staunchly backing their candidate Mpho Phalatse, as they believe that the previous agreement for the coalition of Johannesburg should stand; this may not be accepted by Gayton McKenzie and the PA, who have selected Kenny Kunene as their candidate.

Should the DA back the ActionSA councillor Funzi Ngobeni, Cajee said that the mayoral position would see a DA-ActionSA and PA alliance taking control of the Council. He added that if the DA-ActionSA coalition wants power in the city of Gold, they would need to support Funzi Ngobeni with the PA agreeing but with the condition that they have two councillors within the Executive.

So the ultimate decision rests with the DA, which would also determine whether the PA would continue with the ANC-EFF coalition.

On the topic of the ANC’s pandering to smaller parties, Cajee said that Panyaza Lesufi is in favour of a coalition with the EFF on the basis that the ANC, in 2024, would lose the majority vote in the city and would therefore require a vital coalition partner to retain the municipality.

Regarding the resolutions that the ANC had come up with, Cajee said that the majority party within the coalition should lead the coalition. Another was that the parties would receive Mayoral Executive seats proportional to their Council seats, effectively making it a forced coalition. This would be the option should there be a hung council or when a coalition was challenging to be formed.

Cajee responded that this untenable situation of having mayors and their committees come and go would be to limit the number of times a vote of no confidence can be passed or to limit the number of motions of no confidence passed within a term of office. This would allow for more stability within the Council.

A third option would be passing legislation as the majority party would get the first option to form a government or a coalition. Currently, the legislation around coalition is an Executive Mayoral Committee or Shared Mayoral Committee system.

He further commented that the Municipal Structures Act needed to be tightened regarding how motions of no confidence were passed, how often coalitions can be disbanded, etc., as this affects the service delivery to the city.

Moving the National Government’s announcement of the termination of the contract and G4S then announcing its divestment from South Africa’s Correctional Services, Cajee said that the level of systemic failures that happened in the Thabo Bester saga, which he says included a significant cover-up by G4S Executive, leaving the Justice Minister no other option.

He added that it might be a victory for civil society which had become more vocal in criticising the Ramaphosa government with the media, which bodes well for the upcoming elections as they maintain accountability of the Administration.

Listen to the full interview with Ml Sulaimaan Ravat on Sabahul Muslim here.

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