‘Accusations nothing but a smokescreen’: Phalatse says there’s no rift within DA | The Citizen

Former Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse has dismissed claims there is tension within the Democratic Alliance (DA) as she battles to reverse her removal.

Phalatse has filed papers at the Johannesburg High Court to have last Friday’s council meeting declared unlawful, which saw her being ousted as mayor during a motion of no confidence vote.

This came after her urgent interdict to stop the meeting was struck off the court roll.

The former mayor was replaced by the ANC’s Johannesburg regional chair, Dada Morero.

ALSO READ: Joburg mayoral drama: Is it a strategy to keep Action SA out of the spotlight or to set ANC up for spectacular failure?

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Phalatse said she was of the view that the council sitting was “a sham” and criticised newly elected Speaker, Colleen Makhubele, who presided over the chaotic sitting which experienced numerous interruptions and points of order.

“Since then, Colleen Makhubele and others have been trying to score mileage out of this unlawful council coup, or disguise the fact that they were complicit in handing Johannesburg back to the ANC.

“They have been working hard to create a false narrative around these events,” she said during the virtual press conference on Wednesday.

‘No rift’

Phalatse insisted there was “no rift” in the DA, adding that she has “the full backing of the party and its national leadership”.

Last week, ActionSA claimed that the former mayor had begged the DA’s national leadership to allow her to save the coalition from losing by backing a councillor from Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) for the Speaker position. 

It was alleged DA Federal Council chair Helen Zille’s refusal to grant the request prompted the Patriotic Alliance (PA) to abandon the coalition and vote with the opposition to install Makhubele as Speaker instead of Alex Christians.

This suggestion has been dismissed by both Zille and Phalatse.

ALSO READ: In City of Joburg, the real deal was between the ANC and the PA

“Our detractors will now have you believe that this is evidence of arrogance – an unwillingness to compromise or share power in a coalition. These accusations are nothing but a smokescreen designed to distract from what’s really going on,” the former mayor said on Wednesday.

With her application set to be heard next week, Phalatse further said she would not allow “the coalition of corruption to simply waltz back in” without a fight.

“It is a pity that some, who have abandoned the coalition, have now given power back to the ANC. This is not what their voters wanted, and I call upon them to reconsider. They have shown that a vote for parties that let us down is actually a vote for the ANC,” she said.

“Some have accused me of wanting to keep power. Not so. For me, it is about serving the people, not power.”

‘Political battle’

The ANC, meanwhile, has since confirmed that the regional party would oppose the DA’s application.

The party said in a statement that it was confident that it would successfully defend the matter in court.

Morero is expected to announce his new members of the mayoral committee (MMCs) next week, according to reports.

But Phalatse has indicated that this would be challenged.

“We are also asking the court to set aside all decisions taken by the ANC’s Dada Morero since he was appointed mayor. We hope to have that ruling within a week,” she said.

“I’ve said before, and I still maintain, that a court victory alone will not see the city restored to a trusted government. There is a political battle to be fought too. A battle to appeal to the senses of political parties who genuinely care about our city and its residents,” Phalatse continued.

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