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AIC’s Margaret Arnolds is the new Joburg City Council Speaker

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Johnathan Paoli

African Independent Congress councillor Margaret Arnolds was elected Joburg Council Speaker on Monday following the dismissal of Colleen Makhubele from her position by her party – Cope.

City manager Floyd Brink made the announcement on Monday and said in the event of only one candidate being nominated, the presiding officer must declare that candidate duly elected, and that the ANC-EFF-PA coalition majority nominated Arnolds for the position.

Makhubele was removed from her position, after she joined and was elected leader of the newly formed alliance, the South African Rainbow Alliance (SARA), allegedly, without the party’s permission.

Her removal came hot on the heels of a ruling by the High Court in Johannesburg, which nullified the appointment of City Manager Floyd Brink.

However, the DA boycotted Monday’s sitting and said that it was an example of fiscal waste.

The DA caucus leader Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku said that her party will not be attending and refused to be complicit in such a frivolous waste of money.

“Our position remains clear, the Johannesburg council must be resolved, and we will not give legitimacy to the doomsday coalition, while they are being frivolous with the taxpayers’ money,” Kayser-Echeozonjoku said.

Makhubele said last week that she would not be contesting her expulsion and instead focus on her new role as the leader of SARA.

“They fired me because I dared to believe that I can lead, and I can lead SARA and the nation of South Africa…Frankly, they fired me because they could, and they had the power to. These are men, and it’s a culture within our nation,” the former speaker said.

ANC regional secretary Sasabona Manganye said Arnolds was not new to leadership and he believed she would represent the coalition well.

“We have no doubt she will perform and excel in the position of speaker. She has been very consistent, having been at the centre of leading and uniting the minority parties since 2016. She has played that critical role and we are confident that because she did well as an MMC, she will do well as a speaker. Our support for her candidature is very clear and we trust she will work for the people of Johannesburg,” Manganye said.

Arnolds said that she was prepared for her new role and this would illustrate the readiness of her party to govern.

“Occupying the position of speaker in council would demonstrate the AIC is able to govern and that we have credible people. Despite being a small party, we are a party with influence. We have been leading the minority party bloc since inception. Rallying the smaller parties together was my brainchild,” Arnolds said.

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