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City of Joburg postpones crucial inaugural council meeting

The City of Johannesburg has moved to next week Monday its crucial inaugural sitting of the Council for the 2016-2021 term of office that was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, this as the city’s government is yet to be formed.

The City said the sitting was moved after consultation with political party leaders who attended last week’s Mock Council, an informal meeting to orientate new councillors, at the Joburg Theatre.

In a statement, City Manager Trevor Fowler said the leaders of political parties that contested the August 3 municipal elections were currently negotiating coalitions in order to constitute government and have indicated that they needed more time.

No political party won an outright majority to form a government in the City of Johannesburg, leaving parties with 14 days, or until Friday, in which to conclude negotiations on the formation of a coalition government for the City.

In Johannesburg, the country’s economic hub, the African National Congress (ANC) received 44.55% of the vote, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) got 38.37%, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 11.09% and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) received only 1.72%.

Fowler, who would be the presiding officer, said part of the agenda for Monday’s meeting would be the swearing in of all 270 councillors, the election of Speaker of Council, Executive Mayor and Chief Whip of Council.

Fowler said the mayoral portfolio committees, members of the Mayoral Committee, election of chairpersons of committees, including Chair of Chairs and approval of members of various Section 79 committees would be announced at the second Council meeting, which was planned for September 8.

“In the meantime, the City continues to function and services are rendered. There should not be panic about possible lapses in governance,” Fowler said.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Monday that the mood was sombre at the offices of the City of Johannesburg in Braamfontein as the possibility of job losses began to sink in among a number of staff members attached to politicians.

TMG Digital reported that support staff attached to politicians – including political advisers to the members of the mayoral
committee, stakeholder advisors and staff in the mayor’s office – feared losing their jobs if another political party takes over the City from the ANC.

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