/ 7 June 2023

Joburg mayor receiving medical treatment after becoming ill during council debate

Kabelo Gwamanda
Al Jama-ah councillor Kabelo Gwamanda. (City of Joburg/Facebook)

Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda is receiving medical treatment after becoming ill during the debate on his state of the city address, his office said on Wednesday.

The mayor’s spokesperson, Mlimandlela Ndamase, said Gwamanda had been unwell and defied doctor’s advice to deliver the speech on Tuesday. 

“The executive mayor has been unwell since yesterday morning, however, given the significance and importance of the day to the council and residents of the city, he unfortunately went against medical advice and attended to the state of the city address as delivered.”

Ndamase said Gwamanda was seen by his medical team immediately after he delivered the address.

He said the mayor was present at the start of the debate but his condition deteriorated, forcing him to excuse himself.

“Sadly, during today’s debate, his condition deteriorated and the advice of the medical team has been that he be excused immediately and present himself to a medical facility for urgent treatment and observation.”

Gwamanda was still receiving medical attention, he said.

Leah Knott, the Democratic Alliance’s chief whip in the metro, said Gwamanda arrived late for the debate. 

A while after it got underway, the DA caucus was approached by members of the ANC and smaller parties with a proposal that proceedings be adjourned because the mayor was unwell.

It was agreed that the remaining speakers would be heard on Tuesday, before the presentation of the city’s budget. 

The metro has for years seen considerable political instability, which worsened after the 2021 local government elections when 18 parties secured seats on the council. Neither the ANC nor the DA won enough seats to govern on their own. 

Gwamanda is a member of the Al Jama-ah party and the ninth executive mayor the metro has had since 2016, when the ANC lost control of the city.

He is the second Al Jama-ah mayor within a matter of months, having taken over from Thapelo Amad who was ushered in with the support of the ANC after the DA’s Mpho Phalatse was ousted. 

Amad was forced to resign in April after he made claims of having secured a R9.5 billion loan to fund service delivery issues and a smart city.