Johannesburg - The DA’s Herman Mashaba was elected executive mayor of the City of Joburg during the inaugural council sitting at the City Hall on Monday.
Mashaba went head to head against incumbent mayor Parks Tau, but emerged victorious with 144 votes. Tau received 125 votes.
DA and Economic Freedom Fighters members sang and danced after the announcement of the vote outcome, with Mashaba hoisted high in jubilation.
Councillors of the two parties sang “thupa e etla” in unison, loosely translated “we are cracking the whip” a popular revolutionary song of the EFF and stomped their feet across the venue. Tau had left the venue immediately after casting his vote.
In his acceptance speech Mashaba also thanked EFF leaders Floyd Shivambu and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi as well as DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
Kevin Wax of the DA was voted in as chief whip with 146 votes
He ran against Solomon Mogase of the ANC who garnered 123 votes.
Voting was halted earlier after an ANC councillor fell sick and collapsed. The ANC caucus asked for an adjournment to allow the woman to recover. But she died minutes after the caucus left the venue.
The councillor was identified as Nonhlanhla Mthembu, "fondly known as Black Diamond and Stompi", according to the Gauteng ANC spokesman Nkenke Kekana.
"Ms Mthembu who recently celebrated her 50th birthday was an activist at heart, and a longstanding member of the ANC... She was a Johannesburg councilor in the 2011 - 2016 term of office, and was re-elected to serve for another five years," Kekana said.
After news of Mthembu’s death, it was agreed that there would be two ballots for chief whip and mayor at the same time.
Political parties had been at each other’s throats all day, lodging objections during the hotly contested elections held at the city hall in the CBD.
But Mthembu's untimely death sent a sombre mood among councillors who ceased with the singing and heckling each other inside the City Hall.
Earlier, the DA’s chairman of Joburg caucus, Vasco da Gama, snatched the speaker position from incumbent speaker Constance Bapela.
The ANC won 121 seats in Joburg in the local government elections against the DA’s 104 and the EFF’s 30. The rest of the 270 council seats went to smaller parties.
African News Agency and IOL