Speaking times in the spotlight at council meeting
Cllr Solly Mogase, the African National Congress’s Chief Whip in the City of Johannesburg Council, called on the council on Tuesday September 27 to allocate the ANC more speaking time as it was the majority political party.
Cllr Mogase was speaking during a monthly council meeting at the legislature in Braamfontein on guidelines on the allocation of speaking time for political parties at council meetings.
He said according to proportional representation, the ANC as the majority party in the council was entitled to have more speaking time than any other political party. He added that it was up to the ANC to decide which other political party it wished to donate some of its allotted time to.
Council Chief Whip Cllr Kevin Max appreciated Cllr Mogase’s “generous offer” but said that, according to the Constitution, speaking time had to be fairly allocated to give minority parties a say. He said the council should ensure that all parties were accommodated irrespective of the number of seats they held.
“I would like to appeal to Cllr Mogase to reconsider his statement in the spirit of democracy,” the Chief Whip said.
Cllr Abdul Razak Goolan Noordbhal, the Chief Whip of the Al Jama-Ah, said Mogase’s proposal was a “bitter pill to swallow”. He said nine minority parties were allocated five minutes among them in a 30-minute debate and argued that that was not enough.
“We are not representatives of committees but representatives of political parties. This is the only council that runs parallel to the Constitution. The operative word here is not democracy but autocracy,” he said.