JOBURG Finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni is upbeat about the new centre. Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - City of Joburg mayoral committee member for finance Funzela Ngobeni looks set to replace outgoing mayor Herman Mashaba following his dramatic exit last week which forced the DA to scramble to find a mayoral replacement.

DA insiders maintained that Ngobeni was a firm favourite despite the party announcing that the nomination process, which began on Friday, would close at midnight on Thursday.

Gauteng DA leader John Moodey was on Sunday unable to provide the exact details surrounding the nomination of candidates, saying only that the process included online submissions of candidates' names.

Ngobeni was recently elected DA regional chairperson of the Joburg region.

Moodey said his election comes as the party sets its sights on building its support base ahead of the 2021 municipal elections.

“He (Ngobeni) will lead the Joburg region in refocusing its structures on how best to represent the interests of our citizens. I do not know who the people are that made themselves available to be mayor of Joburg,” he said.

The party said shortlisted candidates would go through rigorous interviews, including verification of their qualifications and psychometric tests.

Moodey said the candidate with the highest marks was likely to be mayoral candidate, pending the approval of the selection committee.

A final decision would be decided by the DA’s Federal Executive.

Mashaba has agreed to stay on as the city's mayor until November 27 to allow the party to complete its process of electing a mayoral candidate.

On Sunday, the incumbent mayor emphasised his earlier sentiments that he would not be joining any political party.

Commenting on his successor, he said: “I do not know who is going to replace me.

"I hope that person will continue the fight against corruption. I also hope that the new mayor will turn the public service to a professional public service which would serve the interests of the residents of Joburg.”

While mayor, Mashaba was instrumental in urging the national government and Home Affairs Department to deport illegal immigrants in Joburg.

He previously accused foreigners of being involved in the hijacking of buildings in Joburg - a call which irked Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

Last night, he maintained that illegal immigration was still a crisis for South Africa, pointing out that the government should not put its head in the sand and avoid dealing with such issues.

“South Africa must be prepared to pay the price if they do deal with the crisis,” Mashaba said.

Moodey, in the meantime, highlighted that after the nomination and selection processes were completed, the party would introduce its preferred candidate to its coalition partners and the EFF for approval.

He was adamant that the opposition party in Gauteng was still keen on maintaining its working relationship with the EFF, despite Mashaba’s comments during his resignation about some DA senior leaders, also implying that newly elected Federal Executive Council chairperson Helen Zille did not approve of his working relationship with EFF councillors.

While this past week also saw the shock resignations of DA leader Mmusi Maimane as party leader and his ally Athol Trollip step down, the party on Sunday announced former chief whip John Steenhuisen as its new parliamentary leader, who would effectively replace Maimane in the House.

Political Bureau