The DA’s Herman Mashaba has been elected as the new mayor of the City of Johannesburg, giving the opposition party a clean-sweep of top spots at all three ‘hotly contested’ municipalities in 2016.
Throughout proceedings, councillors from all parties caused disruptions as the EFF clashed with the ANC, and observers fiercely debated the definition of a “secret” ballot.
Events took a tragic turn when an unnamed ANC councillor collapsed during proceedings, leading to a 15 minute delay. The party then informed council that the member had sadly passed away.
Voting proceeded with one change to accommodate the ANC members, in that councillors voted for both their selected mayor and council chief whip at the same time. This was decided through consensus among councillors.
In the end, voting went as expected, with the DA’s Herman Mashaba coming out on top as the new mayor of the City of Joburg.
Earlier, DA candidate, Vasco Da Gama was elected as speaker – while the DA’s Kevin Wex was elected as chief whip.
The ANC failed to secure an outright majority in CoJ‚ getting just over 44% of the vote in early August‚ while the DA earned just over 38%. The EFF with 11% of the vote, along with coalitions with smaller parties, swung the vote in favour of the DA.
Unlike in Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Tshwane, that ANC’s candidate, Parks Tau was present at the vote.
Ahead of the council vote, Tau said that he and his party were ready to serve the city in any capacity. Tau’s main concerns were not the loss of positions, but the loss of policies and programmes that have been implemented to uplift the city.
Tau said that, although he accepts the decision taken by the EFF to support a DA candidate, he believes the party made it in bad faith and will regret it if progress in the city stalls.
There has been no coalition between the DA and the EFF, though the latter has thrown its votes behind the former in a bid to weed out ANC power wherever it could.
According to EFF leader Julius Malema, his party does not support DA policies – and is not particularly fond of Herman Mashaba; however, it was about choosing the “lesser of two evils”, with the ANC being the worse of the two parties.
Mashaba is viewed by the EFF as being anti-poor, which is against its policies. However, ahead of the vote Mashaba said that the DA and the EFF had ironed out their differences.
“The EFF knows I started off as a humble black business man and they know I will prioritise poor communities,” Mashaba said.