Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Stakes are high in race for Joburg mayor and no party wants to be the total loser

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Nov 28, 2019

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Johannesburg - The City of Joburg mayoral seat is up for grabs and Thursday’s battle between political parties for the city’s top post is set to heat up and possibly signal an end to the DA’s coalition rule.

The DA has already pushed forward its preferred candidate - current finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni - while the EFF has selected its Joburg chairperson, Musa Novela, to contest the position.

In the ANC, four candidates are vying for the post and these include ANC Joburg chairperson Geoff Makhubo, ANC councillor Nonceba Molwele, former Gauteng legislature speaker Lindiwe Maseko and councillor Jolidee Matongo are in the race.

However, a political expert warns that Thursday’s showdown will not be easy due to the fact that the DA and the ANC have seemingly failed to obtain support from the EFF, which has 30 seats in the council, ahead of voting Thursday.

“I do not think there will be a mayor by the end of business. It seems these parties have not engaged properly with each other and agreed on a single candidate.

“There is a clear indication of lack of consultation between parties. It is likely that we are heading for a hung parliament,” political analyst Ralph Mathekga said.

He said all parties were likely to go back to the drawing board and start fresh negotiations on the election.

The mayoral position became vacant following the dramatic resignation of Herman Mashaba last month.

Mashaba, in his resignation, said the election of Helen Zille as the DA’s federal executive chairperson signalled a return of the party’s old guard.

Mashaba became mayor in August 2016, after the DA successfully lobbied EFF with its 30 votes, the IFP’s five votes and one vote each from UDM, Cope, ACDP and Freedom Front Plus.

That brought to an end the ANC’s 15 years of domination since the City of Joburg became a metro council in 2000.

The DA at the time had only managed to clinch 103 seats but support from other parties secured a top job for Mashaba as mayor and Vasco da Gama as Speaker of the City.

In total, Mashaba obtained 142 votes and the ANC, which had nominated former mayor Parks Tau, ended up with 127 votes.

Last night, ANC and DA leaders admitted that they would go for a complex election of a mayor this time around after the EFF vowed to put up Novela to contest the position.

Both ANC and DA will need 133 votes to secure a majority to elect a mayor of their choice for Joburg.

Adding more problems for the ANC, by last night it had not finalised its candidate for mayor.

Matongo, speaking on behalf of the ruling party, conceded that the ANC was still in discussions to select one person to be their mayoral candidate.

He also pointed out that his party had not yet secured parties that would vote for their candidate.

“We spoke to all other parties except the DA.

“They all said we hear you and we will support you. But there is nothing guaranteed.

“We have experienced in the past people saying they will support us but turn around on voting day,” Matongo said.

He was referring to instances where they called for several motions of no confidence against Mashaba, some of which were abandoned after the IFP turned them down.

DA provincial leader John Moodey said his party did not have a plan to retain control of Joburg, saying: “The EFF has not come to the party.”

“We do not have the numbers in Joburg. We reject the EFF’s proposal to vote for them in Joburg and they will vote for us in Tshwane,” Moodey said. Moodey described the election as a “battle of giants”.

Adding more to the strained relations between the EFF and the DA comes as the red berets have called for a motion of no confidence to be passed against Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa following a sex tape scandal. EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was adamant on Wednesday that the party will go ahead with the nomination of Novela for Joburg mayor.

“The nomination follows the EFF decision that our governance experience, our understanding of the inner workings of government and our correct manifesto priorities place the EFF as the most suitable organisation to lead the City of Johannesburg,” Ndlozi said.

He added that under Novela’s leadership in the City of Joburg, his party had achieved tremendous victories such as the insourcing of cleaners and security guards for the City of Joburg.

The provincial government has indicated it will be closely watching the election process, adding the main objective was to ensure the city had a mayor and service delivery took place. Mashaba officially left office on Wednesday. He remains silent on his next venture.

Political Bureau

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