First council meeting anything but dull

Leader of the opposition, Mmusi Maimane, was in attendance at the first full Council meeting since the local government elections last week.

The DA’s Patricia De Lille was officially re-elected as executive mayor of Cape Town and the Economic Freedom Fighters made their presence felt in the first full council meeting of the new term. The DA won the City of Cape Town council with a two thirds majority.

At the meeting, which was anything but dull, Ian Neilson and Dirk Smit were re-elected to the positions of deputy mayor and speaker, respectively. Former Ward 67 councillor, Shaun Aug-ust, was elected as chief whip.

Also in attendance on Thursday was Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille, as well as DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

In her acceptance speech for her second term as mayor, Ms De Lille said: “We will continue to provide the best level of service in the country to all residents. And we continue to attract business and investment, creating jobs and growth.”

She also appealed to the opposition parties to work constructively in the new council. “We may be political adversaries but we need not be enemies. You represent a third of the electorate.”

It was an emotional speech for Ms De Lille, who lost her mother shortly before the elections on Wednesday August 3.

Xolani Sotashe, the ANC’s mayoral candidate, congratulated the DA and the mayor on the election results but promised to be an effective and aggressive opposition in council and represent the poor who still lacked basic services.

He also raised questions about the language policy in council, saying that English took preference over the other two official languages of Xhosa and Afrik-aans. The ANC also wanted feedback from the mayor on how long the process of electing sub-council chairpersons would take.

Grant Haskin, of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) criticised both the DA and the ANC for telling voters not to vote for the smaller parties.

“You spent millions in your campaign but despite this we retained our three seats in council and gained in overall votes.”

He added that he hoped the DA would listen to opposition views and work constructively with them in the new term.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who won seven seats after their first ever municipal elections and are the second largest opposition in the City dubbed their council representatives “the magnificent seven” and warned that they were not there just to congratulate the mayor.

“We are going to be radical opposition,” said Melikhaya Xego, the party’s provincial secretary and whip.

The party’s Andrew Arnolds also asked council for details on the 24 000 pieces of land they own and when they were going to release this land to the people.