Politics / 10 September 2019, 08:00am / BALDWIN NDABA
Johannesburg - Male officials in all of the country’s 257 municipalities continue to hold senior mayoral positions - while women hold peripheral mayoral positions in mostly small municipalities.
According to the provincial breakdown released by StatsSA, KwaZulu- Natal tops the list of most municipalities with male mayors, followed by Gauteng and the Western Cape.
The Free State and the North West are the only provinces with higher numbers of female mayors. The Free State is the only province which has, in Olly Mlamleli, the only female mayor of a metro in Mangaung, Bloemfontein.
Last week, the domination of males in KZN municipalities was maintained when the ANC in the only Metro Council - eThekwini - elected former MEC for roads and transport Mxolisi Kaunda as the new mayor despite fierce opposition from the ANC Women’s League.
Kaunda replaced the controversial Zandile Gumede, who was ousted following her alleged involvement in a fraud and corruption case related to the illegal issuing of a waste management tender amounting to more than R250 million.
Prior to Kaunda’s appointment, Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke released a report last month which chronicled the representation of males and females in political and administrative positions in the different municipalities in the country.
Shockingly, KZN came out on top with several men holding mayoral positions in the local municipalities.
At the time the report was published, Gumede was still at the helm of eThekwini, but aside from that men dominated mayoral positions.
According to StatsSA 2018 figures, KZN had 80% male mayors, with the remainder female representatives. Since the election of Kaunda, however, the figure for female mayors has drastically dropped to below 20%.
Gauteng is second most male-dominated, especially in its metropolitan councils. All metros, from the City of Tshwane’s Stevens Mokgalapa; Herman Mashaba of the City of Joburg; and Mzwandile Masina of Ekurhuleni, are men.
Gauteng only has two female mayors: Maphefo Letsie-Mogale of Merafong Local Municipality in Carletonville, west of Joburg, and Lerato Maloka of Lesedi Local Municipality in Heidelberg, east of Joburg.
Gauteng has 73% male mayors. The only time Gauteng had a female holding the fort in a metro was in 2006 when Ntombi Mekgoe was elected Mayor of Ekurhuleni, but she lasted just four years at the helm.
Since then, mayoral positions in the metros continued to be held by men even under the new DA’s government in Tshwane and Joburg.
The Western Cape occupies the third spot - 72% male mayors and 28% females. However, the Western Cape has at least placed three prominent women at the helm of the City of Cape Town since 2002, in the ANC’s Nomaindia Mfeketo, Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille until October 2018.