Pretoria - Congress of the People's sole councillor in the City of Tshwane, Dr Marunwa Makwarela, was elected unopposed as the new council Speaker.
This was during a special council sitting, where political parties threw their support behind his election as their new presiding officer.
Makwarela filled the shoes of Katlego Mathebe, who vacated the office and assumed the position of MMC for Agriculture and Environmental Management.
ANC leader Aaron Maluleka, however, threw down the gauntlet to Makwarela, saying his immediate task should be to form ward committees.
Since 2016, the City had been running without ward committees and fingers were pointed at the outgoing Speaker Katlego Mathebe for the anomaly.
"One of the legacies of Katlego Mathebe is for her not to establish ward committees. It is a very embarrassing thing not to have ward committees," Maluleka said.
He said the ANC believed that Makwarela's legacy "will be to make sure that we have the ward committees".
He pointed out that the process for public participation of ward committees was already under way.
"You will extend the public participation to communities and face-to-face engagements and ensure that the Speaker's office plays a central role among the stakeholders, the minority and downtrodden in the society," Maluleka said.
He also remarked the ANC experienced "a very difficult five years" under Mathebe, expressing hope for "a very peaceful five years".
This was with the exception of the EFF councillors, who were part of the march outside the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, where the party called for the return of fans to the stadiums.
On behalf of the DA, executive mayor Randall Williams, congratulated the new Speaker for taking up the position.
"The Speaker's position is a position that also calls for a person who acts at all times in a fair and impartial manner. You will be required to be calm during heated debates and you will have to show leadership during those difficult times," Williams said.
He advised him that his job would be "to take decisions in terms of the rules of council".
Unlike Maluleka, Williams had good things to say about Mathebe.
"On behalf of the council, let me thank you for the work that you (Mathebe) did in advancing the governance in the city in the past five years," he said.
ActionSA caucus leader, Abel Tau, said he believed Makwarela would complete a term of five years as a speaker.
"You have our full support as ActionSA as well as the joint caucus in the multi-party coalition," he said.
He reminded him of his responsibility of "leading a team of Section 79 chairpersons that will play oversight on the work that we need to do to the benefit of the citizens of Tshwane".
Tau advised him to take a leaf out of Mathebe's book, who kept "a calm demeanour" during difficult times.
Makwarela expressed his gratitude to councillors for showing confidence in him and Cope president Mosioua Lekota "for believing in my leadership and continuous lessons in the history of our Struggle".
He told councillors that leadership to him was not "a popularity contest, but an opportunity to lead and steer this council towards the right direction".
"To all the councillors let's work together with propriety, holding each other accountable and thus enhancing service delivery to our communities," Makwarela said.