DA leader Mmusi Maimane (center), flanked by mayors Herman Mashaba, Solly Msimanga, Patricia De Lille and Athol Trollip. Picture: Getrude Makhafola/ANA

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance-led metropolitan councils have brought change a year after taking over from the African National Congress (ANC), DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Thursday.

''We showed that change can happen, and change has taken place. A year ago, South Africans laid their trust in the DA, the DA grew and started to govern in three new metros and retained Cape Town. We have indeed taken a big step in ensuring that if we can achieve it at local government, we can certainly build towards a post-ANC 2019,'' Maimane told journalists in Soweto at a briefing on the party's progress a year after the local government elections.

He was accompanied by DA mayors Solly Msimanga of Tshwane, Cape Town's Patricia De Lille, Johannesburg's Herman Mashaba and Athol Trollip of Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape.

The cities were working hard to stop corruption and ensure quality services to its residents, Maimane said.

''When we campaigned last year, we told South Africans that we wanted to do three things - stop corruption, create jobs and deliver basic services...we have only just begun, a lot of work sill needs to be done, but I am grateful that we have started.''

As a result of cooperating with opposition parties such as the United Democratic Movement (UDM), the Freedom Front Plus (FFPlus), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Congress of the People (Cope), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Maimane said it was evident that coalition governments were a ''model for the future.'' 

A coalition government post the 2019 general elections was being modelled from the present local government framework at the metros, he said.

''We agreed with the EFF that they would help us pass and vote with us on all matters. This to me is a genuine reminder that if we are willing to put the people's needs first - and not patronage or corruption - much can be achieved. We inherited a mess... people often talk about state capture, forgetting that at local government level, corruption has taken root, capture has manifested itself with no services delivered to our people.''

It has, however, not been smooth sailing at the coalition metro councils, excluding Cape Town which is totally under DA control. 

Msimanga has seen a council revolt as ANC councillors disrupted council meetings, the EFF demanded that all outsourced workers be insourced by the city and occupation of vacant land in the capital driven by the red berets. The increasing land invasions prompted Msimanga to establish an anti-land grab unit to deal with the land invaders.

Mashaba's election in Johannesburg had initially bothered EFF leader Julius Malema after the local government elections. Malema accused the businessman-turned-politician of being out of touch with the country's poor masses. 

However, the EFF voted for the DA to take over, rendering the ANC to the opposition benches. The country's economic hub's council has not escaped political mud slinging between the parties. Mashaba has vowed to stop ''ANC corruption'' which he said has so far cost the city millions that could have helped improve services for residents. He added that the city's anti-corruption unit was tackling over 900 graft cases, linked to the previous administration.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, a once lauded coalition led by Trollip and his deputy, UDM's Mongameli Bobani, is under threat as the  working relationship between the two fell through. The two disagreed on issues of governance and staffing at the Eastern Cape metro. The tension escalated after Trollip fired Bobani as MMC for public health. A motion of no confidence debate against Bobani has been set for next week, Trollip told journalists. 

Bobani remained deputy mayor as he was elected by council.