Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has announced that his party will challenge the removal of Mpho Phalatse as the mayor of Johannesburg in the courts.
Steenhuisen said Phalatse’s ouster, through a motion of no confidence during a council sitting on Friday, was unlawful and unprocedural, and would not stand in court.
The DA leader briefed the media on Friday evening after Phalatse was voted out of office by a minority of small parties led by the ANC.
Phalatse, who had served as Joburg mayor through a multiparty coalition led by the DA since the 2021 local government elections, was replaced by ANC’s Johannesburg regional chair, Dada Morero.
Morero was voted in as mayor unopposed.
‘Entirely spurious and false’ to blame DA
Steenhuisen said it was “entirely spurious and false” to blame the DA for the collapse of the multiparty coalition. He said the DA had, from the outset, held to the letter and the spirit of the coalition agreement in good faith.
“The blame lies squarely with the coalition partners who refuse to recognise or respect the terms of the signed coalition agreements, which they clearly do not believe are worth the paper they are written on,” he said.
He described the ANC’s return to power in the Joburg metro as a “coalition of corruption”.
He said the DA was further disappointed that ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba had “chosen to consistently attack the DA rather than call out the ANC for their desperate efforts to destabilise opposition coalitions across the country.”
“His media onslaught against the DA today is little more than an attempt to steer the blame for this collapse away from where it truly belongs.
“While pointing fingers at the DA, Mashaba has been instrumental in destroying the coalition from within and was not even present in many coalition meetings with the party leaders to resolve the issues,” Steenhuisen said.
He said that the DA would not dignify Mashaba’s alleged “lies”, adding that small parties along with the EFF had handed the city back to the ANC that had “run it into the ground”.
“We will move quickly to do everything in our power to protect our other coalition governments from this ANC onslaught.”
Urgent interdict dismissed
Earlier, Phalatse’s urgent interdict to stop the motion of no confidence against her was struck off the roll by the Johannesburg High Court.
The court found that the matter was not urgent because by the time it was heard, the council had already voted for a new mayor.
The DA also lost the position of council speaker this month after Vasco Da Gama was removed and replaced by the Congress of the People (Cope) councillor Colleen Makhubele, on Wednesday.