Mayor of Joburg falls ill during council meeting, hospitalised

Mayor of Joburg falls ill during council meeting, hospitalised
Mayor of Joburg falls ill during council meeting, hospitalised

Africa-Press – South-Africa. A council debate in Joburg was abruptly postponed on Wednesday after the mayor of Joburg, Kabelo Gwamanda, was hospitalised for an illness.

Gwamanda arrived late for a debate session, with Al Jama-ah’s Imraan Moosa saying the mayor was not feeling well and would arrive later.

According to council legislation, the mayor has to be present for a debate on his State of the City Address (SOCA), which he presented on Tuesday.

The DA raised some concerns about Gwamanda’s absence at the start of the meeting, with DA chief whip Leah Knott saying the mayor had to be present to respond to the debate.

The Speaker, Collen Makhubele, delayed the start of the SOCA debate.

Gwamanda then managed to arrive, and some councillors presented their take on the mayor’s speech.

Gwamanda sat through the speeches from the ANC and DA.

At 13:00, councillors asked for caucus breaks for party whips to discuss an urgent matter.

When the council returned at 15:00, a decision was taken to postpone the council meeting because Gwamanda had to seek medical attention.

The mayor’s office explained in a press release:

“He was seen by his medical team immediately after the address yesterday. Sadly, during today’s debate, his condition deteriorated, and the advice of the medical team on stand-by has been that he be excused immediately and present himself to a medical facility.”

Gwamanda has been heavily criticised for being an absent mayor.

After delivering his speech, he did not pitch for a press briefing on Tuesday.

Earlier, during the debate, the DA described Gwamanda’s SOCA address as lacking substance as well as a clear plan.

The DA’s caucus leader, Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku, said: “He subjected us to a speech not written by himself; it showed the mayor is out of touch with what is happening in the City.

“To say the mayor was vague is an understatement. He spoke about a people’s plan, but how would he know the people’s plan when he was a no-show at his own IDP [Integrated Development Plan] sessions, where he could have received the real state of the City?”

IDP sessions are community engagement opportunities for residents to interact with councillors.

Last month, Makhubele complained that ANC and EFF mayoral committee members, as well as Gwamanda, were not attending this critical service delivery session.

“What is also alarming is that the mayor had an opportunity to apologise to residents and failed to do so. He has a wish-list and is clearly controlled from behind the scenes. He had no plan, and the residents will suffer,” said Kayser-Echeozonjoku.

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