Johannesburg – South Gauteng High Court Judge Sidwell Shangisa has struck from the roll the ANC’s bid to have a motion of no confidence in Mayor Herman Mashaba and speaker Vasco da Gama debated before council due to lack of urgency.
He ordered the ANC to pay the legal costs of both Mashaba and Da Gama.
Shangisa said he would give his reasons at a later stage.
The ANC has since vowed to approach the Constitutional Court on an urgent basis.
“The striking off the roll by the judge doesn’t mean that the unlawful and unconstitutional decision by the speaker to refuse to place the motions on the council agenda for September 27, 2017 is correct. The decision by the judge simply means that the matter was not that urgent as there was still an opportunity to table the motions at the November 29 meeting,” ANC regional spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said in a statement shortly after the judgment.
Earlier the High Court heard that Da Gama’s “blatant” refusal to have the motion of no confidence in Mashaba tabled before council and debated was unconstitutional and unlawful.
“We ask this court to set aside that refusal decision,” Advocate William Mokhari, SC, for the ANC argued.
Mokhari was arguing in a legal challenge by the ANC to force a secret ballot to oust Mashaba.
There were two motions of confidence – one that seeks to oust Mashaba and another that seeks to oust the speaker.
The ANC wanted the vote of no confidence to be held during a council meeting on Wednesday.
If the motion of no confidence passed, the party wanted elections to be held immediately.
The ANC approached the court on Friday, September 15, after the speaker of the council rejected its calls for the motion of no confidence against Mashaba to be held via a secret ballot.
Mokhari argued that the 270 councillors must not be denied their right to hold the speaker and mayor accountable.
He added that Da Gama’s stance that he doesn’t have the power to hold the motion of no confidence via a secret ballot should be tabled and debated by council.
He said the ANC had lost confidence in Mashaba.
‘Biggest abuse of court process’
But Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, representing Da Gama, argued that in its court papers, the ANC didn’t explain why Mashaba should be voted out on Wednesday and not during a council meeting set down for November 29.
“They can always bring the motion at any stage. Nothing prohibits them from doing it,” he said.
“The case is legally complex and the urgent court was not the right place to hear it.”
Meanwhile, Dali Mpofu, representing Mashaba, said the matter was “the biggest abuse of court process that I have seen in my life”.
Mpofu said the case was “premature”.
In a previous interview with News24, DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said the ANC’s motion of no confidence was part of an attempt to destabilise DA-governed metros, and that he was expecting a similar motion to follow against Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga ahead of the 2019 elections.
Moodey dismissed the legal challenge by the ANC to force a secret ballot to oust Mashaba as an attempt to block ongoing graft investigations.
The DA faced criticism for carrying out lie detector tests to determine which members voted with the ANC in Mogale City, leading to the party losing the municipality in Gauteng’s West Rand.
On August 8, a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly saw some ANC members voting with the opposition for Zuma to go.