EFF rejects legal opinion on election of new Joburg mayor
Johannesburg - As the much-anticipated Johannesburg council meeting commenced to elect the new mayor, the EFF rejected the legal opinion sought by council speaker Vasco da Gama on the rules that govern the election of a mayor.
Last week, Da Gama controversially cancelled council proceedings after he said he needed to seek legal clarity on the meaning of “majority” in terms of the rules.
All the biggest political parties in council, the ANC, DA and EFF, are fielding their respective candidates for the mayoral position, which was left vacant by Herman Mashaba on Wednesday last week.
According to the legal opinion, Da Gama told council that if there were more than to candidates, the candidate with the lowest number of votes had to be eliminated if no one secures the majority votes after the secret ballot.
This would be done through an open elimination process.
With 270 seats in council, the EFF has 30 seats, while the ANC and the DA have 123 and 103 respectively.
According to the legal opinion, this means the EFF candidate would be eliminated in the first round of votes if all political parties in council towed their party line, as they would garner their candidate would garner the lowest votes.
EFF regional chairperson and caucus leader Musa Novela, who is also being fielded as the candidate for the red berets, told council that the party rejected the legal opinion.
Novela said the party instead wanted councillors to only into a secret ballot and vote and that any candidate who secures more than 50% of the votes be elected a mayor.
He said the legal opinion would allow someone who did not get majority mandate of council to be elected as mayor if it was allowed.
“We do not need the elimination process even if there is nobody who has acquired the 50% plus one of this council. That will be our understanding. It cannot be that council be run without the mandate of the majority which will be the requirement that needs to be fulfilled to pass, among others, the budget,”Novela said.