Members of the opposition in the city of Johannesburg withdrew from voting in a council meeting after losing a bid to vote using a secret ballot instead of a show of hands on Tuesday.
ANC, EFF, UDM, Patriotic Alliance(PA), Al-Jamah and others pulled out of a special sitting meeting to elect the chair of chairs after several attempts to delay it. The same meeting collapsed and turned violent last week.
The meeting was adjourned at least five times on Tuesday before COPE’s Colleen Makhubela was elected unopposed to the chair of chairs position after the EFF’s Nonhlanhla Radebe withdrew.
The opposition parties accused council speaker Vasco da Gama of being biased after he declined for the vote to be held in secret.
Announcing its withdrawal, EFF’s Musa Novela said: “We refuse to participate in a process that is flawed. Any nomination that comes from the EFF is withdrawn.”
The minority opposition bloc, including the ANC, represented by the African Independent Congress’ Margaret Arnolds, also withdrew participation.
“We are withdrawing our names using the very same rule the EFF has quoted, but we are going further to say we don’t want to be partisan to you flouting the rules,” Arnolds said.
In a show of dissatisfaction with Da Gama’s refusal for the secret ballot, some councillors in the minority bloc stunned the parliament after leaving their seats, raising clenched fists with their hands tied with chains.
They argued an exception could be made as voting for the same positions in the Ekurhuleni metro was conducted through secret ballot.
Councillors also demanded bottled water, which was initially barred from the venue after councillors allegedly used them to assault one another at last week’s meeting, which left eight people injured.
The precinct was heavily guarded by police, and before proceedings could commence, councillors demanded their removal.
The continued disruptions may cause delayed passing of city budget for 2022/2023.
Da Gama’s attempt to put an end to the breaks was not successful. Chaos erupted as some councillors left their seats, chanted and sang, wagging fingers and shouting about their rights being violated.
Council was adjourned to January 27, when chairpersons of portfolio committees are due to be elected.
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