DA to introduce motion for fresh elections in Johannesburg

Issued by Fred Nel – Chairperson of the DA in Gauteng
27 Aug 2023 in News

Please find attached an English and an Afrikaans soundbite by Fred Nel.

At the Johannesburg city council meeting on Thursday, 31 August, the Democratic Alliance (DA) will move for an amendment to the motion of no confidence that has been filed against the mayor. The amendment will call for the motion to be postponed until 2 November, when two years have elapsed and the council will be legally entitled to dissolve itself.

Our amendment will move that the Johannesburg council dissolve itself as soon as possible in order for new elections to take place. Should our motion succeed, by-elections will be held across Joburg within 90 days, giving voters another chance to elect a new, more stable city council that can begin to rescue our country’s biggest city.

In the spirit of cooperation and disclosure, we have already written to our former coalition partners in Johannesburg inviting them to help us put politics aside by passing this motion in the interest of finally providing a stable, ethical city government.

The DA brings this motion in the interest of all residents of Joburg, who are tired of the political instability that has brought service delivery to its knees. This instability can only be fixed by allowing voters the opportunity for a fresh mandate. The root cause of Joburg’s instability is the excessive political fragmentation that followed the November 2021 local government elections. This fragmentation led to no fewer than 18 parties gaining representation in council – with eight of those parties holding the balance of power despite only gaining a single seat each.

In the 21 months since the election, Joburg has seen five changes of government and four different mayors, as parties like Al Jama-ah and the Patriotic Alliance sold out to the ANC in an effort to extort maximum patronage. The result has been the collapse of service delivery, with the recent explosion of a main thoroughfare in central Joburg serving as a symbol of the city’s decline while politicians wrangle for positions.

It is time to bring an end to this painful charade. The truth is that yet another motion of no confidence will do absolutely nothing to solve the root cause of Joburg’s instability. All this motion will do is bring about more instability which will undermine service delivery further. The DA cannot play a role in aggravating this instability. We will not participate in a government unless it is both stable and ethical. Neither will we do anything that puts the Patriotic Alliance into power, as this party is mired in allegations of corruption, cadre deployment and once again voted for the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay just last week. The DA is in the business of providing an alternative to the ANC, while the PA is an alternative version of the ANC.

It is time to face the reality that the city council of Johannesburg, as currently constituted, has no pathway to a stable, ethical majority government. The only way out of this impasse is to go back to the voters to ask them to reconsider their mandate to avoid repeating the chaos of the past two years since the 2021 elections.

Although South Africa only recently started grappling with the realities of extreme political fragmentation, the practice of holding fresh elections when there is no path to a stable political majority is standard practice in all countries governed under coalitions. Going back to the voters of Joburg for a refreshed mandate in the current circumstances, should be seen as part of South Africa’s ongoing maturation as a coalition country.

In the event that our amendment to dissolve council does not pass on Thursday, the DA will abstain from voting on any further motions of no confidence and instead we will introduce a stand-alone new motion to dissolve the council on 2 November, followed by fresh elections within 90 days.

Continuing to play political musical chairs with the lives of the people of Johannesburg is guaranteed to cause only further instability and decline. The DA calls on all political parties in Joburg to put aside their own narrow political ambitions and instead support our motion for fresh elections to elect a stable new government that can rescue Johannesburg.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za