Deputy mayor’s post in balance

Mongameli Bobani
Picture: Brian Witbooi

Dramatic scenes are expected to play out at Thursday’s council meeting after the DA filed a motion to remove the position of deputy mayor from the city’s organogram.

The bid by council chief whip Werner Senekal comes in the wake of a motion by Patriotic Alliance councillor Marlon Daniels to have council elect a new deputy mayor.

If Senekal’s motion is successful it is likely that Daniels’s motion will be discarded.

Senekal declined to comment yesterday, saying: “I will not preempt a debate on this motion.”

Several other motions are also expected to be debated, including a motion to remove mayor Athol Trollip and council speaker Jonathan Lawack.

The two motions – to remove Trollip and Lawack – were brought forward by Daniels and UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani.

Senekal’s motion was seconded by COPE councillor and the coalition government’s partner Siyasanga Sijadu.

It seeks to revoke the decision taken by council to create the position of deputy mayor in 2000.

The deputy mayor position was left vacant after Bobani was removed by majority vote in council on August 24.

The motion to remove Bobani was brought forward by Daniels, who at the time was in coalition with the DA and had been eyeing the deputy mayor position.

In the motion to scrap the deputy mayor position, Senekal wrote that filling the vacant position would add no value to the party’s mandate.

“There is no legal provision that prescribes that our council should have the position,” Senekal wrote.

Both Daniels and Bobani yesterday vowed that Senekal’s motion would not be passed by council.

Daniels said Senekal’s motion proved the claims he had made in September that Trollip wanted to have the position scrapped.

Bobani said the motion by Senekal was evident of Trollip’s arrogance.

“This is clearly Trollip’s erratic, arrogant behaviour. He really wants to run this municipality like a farm and that is his modus operandi. This clearly shows that Trollip wants to run this municipality as a one-man show,” Bobani said. “Unfortunately this motion will not succeed.

On the motion to remove Trollip and Lawack, Bobani said: “Our motions will succeed. We have also lobbied and the lobbying is still continuing.”

City manager Johan Mettler said removing the deputy mayor’s position would have no implications for the rest of the organogram.

Trollip said he supported Senekal’s motion as the position was “superfluous”.

“It is not used in all metros and is furthermore complicated in coalitions where there are a number of partners whose representation in the coalition is small or equal,” he said.

“For example, for the week that Daniels was in the coalition, what would have given him the right to claim the position of deputy mayor when our other single-seat partners had been in the coalition from the beginning?

“If he believed it was because he effectively removed Bobani, it would be an unethical reward. This is one of the main reasons why I told him from the outset that the position was not available to him and would be decided by the co-governance partners, if indeed it would be filled.”

He said his experience with Bobani as deputy mayor just created two centres of power, which was counterproductive.

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