DA’s Funzi Ngobeni to face Joburg’s ethics committee for calling mayor ‘liar’

The Joburg council was expected to sit on Thursday in line with the speaker’s objectives of fast-tracking service delivery.

FILE: DA councillor Funzela Ngobeni. Picture: @CityofJoburgZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA)’s Joburg regional chairperson Funzi Ngobeni will face the city’s ethics and disciplinary committee after he called Mayor Geoff Makhubo a liar.

The Joburg council was expected to sit on Thursday in line with the speaker’s objectives of fast-tracking service delivery.

Makhubo based his acceptance speech on service delivery in the city making familiar promises including water and sanitation in informal settlements.

But, Ngobeni challenged the appointment of new council Speaker Nonceba Molwele. He also questioned Makhubo’s views on the city’s electricity crisis.

“You are saying that there must be a [electricity] flat rate in Soweto. It's very important that you would have to do that because you are the mayor. You can't say others must pay this amount and others must pay that amount... it also speaks to the fact that because you're the mayor you have to represent us to the investors as well. Please don't go around telling lies about the city's finances,” Ngobeni said at the time.

Molwele asked Ngobeni to withdraw the word liar but he refused.

The speaker referred Ngobeni to the city’s ethics and disciplinary committee.


Meanwhile, Makhubo was cornered by the Joburg council to explain why he marched with Soweto residents who were demanding a flat rate for electricity.

Makhubo was answering questions during a council sitting on Thursday. On Wednesday, the mayor joined a march by disgruntled residents in Soweto over load shedding and power problems.

Soweto residents marched together with Makhubo to Eskom’s offices in Diepkloof to hand over a memorandum making a number of demands including a flat rate of R150 per month for power.

But on Thursday, council members wanted Makhubo to explain himself.

“If you’re going to advocate for a flat rate for Soweto residents, you must do the same for Alexandra residents because they too, like the people of Soweto, cannot afford to pay for electricity,” the EFF’s Mosa Novel said.

But Makhubo denied agreeing to a flat rate for Soweto residents.

“At no point did I support a call for a flat rate. If you watch all the interviews I’ve done, we just said people must pay for their services,” he said.

The mayor said he stood by the user pay stance announced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.