The DA gave the ANC and the EFF a bloody nose in Tshwane, using the rulebook meticulously to frustrate both parties’ desperate attempts to remove executive mayor Solly Msimanga.

It was not supposed to be like this.

The ANC and the EFF have the numerical superiority in the Tshwane council and their joint motion against Msimanga should easily have enjoyed a majority. But DA councillor and member of the mayoral committee for economic development Randall Williams rose to throw a spanner in the works.

He objected, saying the EFF motion should be disallowed because the party did not motivate for its urgency in writing, as per the rules of council. Mathebe agreed with Williams, and with that one stroke of political genius the DA was able to ensure that Msimanga lived to fight another day. Mathebe’s ruling caught the EFF by surprise. So used are they to getting their way politically that they were left with no option but to stage a walkout and threaten to take the decision on review in the North Gauteng High Court.