Speaker Makhubele’s absenteeism exposes her political opportunism and unwillingness to serve the people of Johannesburg

The DA in Johannesburg notes with concern the dereliction of duty by the Speaker of Council, Cllr Colleen Makhubele.

Yesterday, instead of doing her job of presiding over Council matters as Speaker, Cllr Makhubele put the politics of her party’s collaboration with the ANC-EFF coalition of corruption above the people of Johannesburg, choosing to attend a meeting of the Tshwane City Council as it sought to elect a new Executive Mayor. This follows the chaotic mayoral election and fall of Murunwa Makwarela, elected as the sole COPE colleague in Tshwane of Cllr Makhubele, who was elevated to the Tshwane mayoralty by the ANC-EFF, only to vacate the office amidst allegations of ineligibility, insolvency, and fraud. This led to COPE acknowledging serious concerns regarding the integrity of their elected officials in Gauteng.

As Speaker, Cllr Makhubele carries a constitutional and democratic obligation to, more than any other elected official in the City Council, disengage from opportunistic and petty party politics. Yesterday’s desertion of her Council duties to assist the ANC-EFF as it sought to undermine the governance of the City of Tshwane is simply yet another instance of Cllr Makhubele illustrating her tragic lack of understanding of her own office.

This is a Speaker unable to achieve the impartiality her office requires and who engages is party political attacks on those sitting in the Council over which she presides. But, it is a new low, even by the standards of this Speaker, to so shamelessly put the party politics of another City Council above her obligations to the Council she is supposed to be a servant of.

The speakership of Cllr Makhubele has been a democratic travesty. Her incompetence. Especially in defending women in Council from sexist abuse, her unashamed partiality, and her bullying of Council members have been matched in scale intensity only by her commitment to self-promotion.

Whilst Cllr Makhubele’s dereliction of her duties in Johannesburg is embarrassing for her, it is perhaps more so that proceedings yesterday in Council ran smoother and more effectively in her absence. For the first time in seven months the proceedings were held with a semblance of professionalism, such as would be expected of any Council seeking to serve its residents.

The DA in Johannesburg wishes to thank Cllr Lloyd Phillips, the Chair of Chairs, for the impartial and productive manner in which he presided over Council business yesterday.

The DA in Johannesburg will urgently refer Speaker Makhubele’s dereliction of duty to the City’s ethics committee for investigation. The residents of Johannesburg deserve a Speaker who puts the City’s interests above her own political ambitions.