NEWS & ANALYSIS

Israel: Mpho Phalatse suspended pending investigation – Herman Mashaba

Joburg Mayor says MMC failed to adequately address complexity and sensitivity on issue

Speech Extract from Executive Mayor, Herman Mashaba, on the Suspension of MMC Mpho Phalatse 

12 June 2018

I have taken note of the remarks made by MMC for Health and Social Development, Cllr Mpho Phalatse over the weekend.

I was disappointed by the remarks, not as they relate to her personal beliefs – I will defend with my life the rights of any South African to hold personal belief of their choosing.

My disappointment stemmed from the attribution of those sentiments to the City of Johannesburg on a matter of such an emotional and sensitive nature.

As the Executive Mayor, I believe in a peaceful two state solution that sees a secure and prosperous Palestine living alongside a secure and prosperous Israel.

When I came into office I made it clear to the International Community that Johannesburg’s agenda was to be inwardly focused on the myriad of challenges its residents face.

The work of International Relations was not be our focus.  Our focus had to be our residents and addressing their historical neglect in favour of International relations.

The matter of the conflicts in the Middle-East is complex and requires a sensitive approach, recognizing this same complexity is mirrored in our own diverse City.

I was disappointed with the recorded extract of MMC Phalatse’s remarks for these reasons, because I do not feel that they adequately address this complexity and sensitivity that exists in our own City.

The recording of her remarks have created confusion on this complex matter, and created a divisive debate which is counter to the kind of social cohesion that is needed in our City.

Having said this, the recording which appeared on social media yesterday was a small extract absent the proper context one requires to make a decision on such a sensitive matter.

It is for this reason, that I have taken the decision to suspend MMC Phalatse pending an investigation into the full and proper context in which those remarks were aired. I believe we owe this to MMC Phalatse and the residents of our City.

I call upon all Councillors in this chamber, and the residents of the City of Johannesburg to not allow for the further breakdown of social cohesion in our City.

We must never forget that we are here today to pass a budget what will ultimately deliver change to Johannesburg’s 5 million residents who come from every faith, every culture and every background of our diverse City.

Our work here today must be as Leader of Society, that build unity and cohesion in our City and that put our residents’ needs first.

Issued by Omogolo Taunyane, Media Specialist: Mayoral Communications, Office of Executive Mayor, 12 June 2018