Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga says he will reach out to the EFF after the political party's motion of no confidence in him was disallowed on a procedural point on Thursday.
Msimanga faced two motions of no confidence during a Tshwane council meeting on Thursday, but both were not put to a vote. The EFF's motion was dismissed and the ANC walked out on its own motion.
Council speaker Katlego Mathebe disallowed the EFF motion saying that it did not comply with the rules of council because it was not written and had no accompanying proposal.
The EFF then staged a walkout. Later the ANC walked out of their own motion because they no longer had the numbers to oust Msimanga.
Speaking to the media, Msimanga said he would reach out to the EFF.
"We need to work with the EFF. I mean, it will be delusional to think that we can do this without the EFF," Msimanga said.
"We might not be in a solid and formal partnership with them, but they are voting with us on a number of issues. We have been able to pass budgets because of them, they have brought a number of issues to our attention which we are implementing."
'Disallowed the motion'
The EFF, on the other hand, said they would approach the court to have the speaker's decision overturned and would write to the speaker again to have the motion heard at the council's next sitting.
"We are the ones [who] tabled the motion. The speaker disallowed the motion. When the speaker disallows the motion, it means there is a problem. We are not going to sit, we are going to address what is the problem," said Tshwane EFF chairperson Benjamin Disoloane.
"But remember, the [removal] of a mayor is a momentous task and we are saying that we are not going to give up."
In a statement, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they would consult their lawyers about the correctness of the speaker's decision. In the interim, however, they will engage with all stakeholders involved to develop a concrete way forward, which will include credible transitional measures in the City of Tshwane.
"In the meantime, all those governing municipalities must do so with absolute humility and respect," Ndlozi said.
"The EFF's consistent position in all municipalities where there were no outright winners is that those who are borrowed the space to lead should consistently and permanently consult with all political parties."
ANC Tshwane chairperson Kgosi Maepa, who was accepted as a councillor on Thursday and pinned as the ANC's candidate for mayor if Msimanga was sacked, told News24 that they would go to court with the EFF to challenge the speaker's ruling on the motion.
"The EFF were not given a chance to respond to their motion. The motion was dismissed. The EFF indicated that they will go to court. They are very unhappy. We expected a fair process," Maepa said.
"Now, we [are] immediately are going to join the EFF in court to say the speaker must allow a motion of no confidence and allow and test democracy in council."
Maepa also denied that the ANC had walked out of the council to save face knowing that without the EFF, it did not have the numbers to vote out the DA.
'The ANC tried to hijack the EFF motion'
Previously, the ANC said they would vote on the EFF motion to remove Msimanga, but the EFF have not taken kindly to this.
Ndlozi accused the ANC of trying to hijack the EFF motion.
"True to its opportunistic nature and form, the ANC tried to hijack the EFF motion of no confidence as their own and somehow expected the EFF to vote with them," Ndlozi said.
Msimanga echoed these sentiments, saying that the ANC were banking on the EFF being in the council for their motion to succeed.
While speculation was rife that the DA and EFF had reached a conclusion to keep Msimanga in power, both parties denied that any deals had been made. However, a credible source earlier told News24 that DA leader Mmusi Maimane had met with EFF leader Julius Malema late on Wednesday night and struck a deal to not vote on Thursday.
According to the numbers, 82 ANC councillors, 24 of the 25 EFF, 93 DA councillors and four FF+ members were in chambers.
The ANC and EFF would have had to vote together with their combined 106 votes to remove Msimanga, who would have had 98 votes against the motion.