WATCH: Suspense, tight security as eThekwini meets again to elect new mayor
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Durban - There was tight security around the Durban ICC on Wednesday when the eThekwini Municipality council convened for the second time in a week to elect a new mayor, deputy mayor and chief whip.
On top of the ring of steel around the venue following a security breach on Monday – when rowdy ANC supporters stormed the botched meeting and disrupted it – there was suspense and frantic efforts to ensure that all opposition parties voted as a block to oust the ANC, which had fielded Mxolisi Kaunda as its candidate.
The suspense follows news that the ANC was eventually able to strike deals with independent councillors and other minority parties in order to thwart attempts by the likes of IFP, EFF and DA to vote for the DA’s Nicole Graham to take the vote.
Hours before the council started, Independent Media was able to speak to ANC and opposition party councillors who confirmed that the ANC was on Tuesday able to sway some councillors, thus buoyed that it would retain the only metro in KwaZulu-Natal when voting begins.
Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics
“Some smaller parties are now speaking a different language; we have learnt that they have been swayed to vote for the ANC. However, our mandate has not changed, we still want the ANC out and we will vote for any candidate opposed to it,” an EFF councillor told Independent Media.
From the ANC ranks, one of them told Independent Media that they were able to gain a handful of independents and were hopeful that they would triumph at the end of the sitting.
The confidence in ANC councillors was seen in their constant singing and joking. On Monday, they were so unsure that they were restrained throughout the sitting.
The anxiety and uncertainty regarding the change of heart by some smaller parties was seen when the IFP, EFF, DA and ABC (Abantu Batho Congress) held private talks within the ICC to ensure that they would still vote for one candidate.
PHOTOS: There is a security ring around the Durban ICC where the decisive eThekwini municipality council is set to convene shortly to elect the new mayor of the city. Opposition parties are out to topple the ANC By electing DA's Nicole Graham who is against Mxolisi Kaunda. @IOL pic.twitter.com/VGcV3DC96r— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) November 24, 2021
Graham said while she was not confident that she would win the bruising battle at the end of the day, she was happy that what they offered to the opposition parties was restoring the city of Durban to its former glory.
“So there is a lot of room to manoeuvre and the reason the ANC collapsed the meeting on Monday was that they wanted time to negotiate and make some promises, pass around a bit of cash and see who would fall.
“So, we are not necessarily confident; we put our offer on the table and our offer was that councillors in this council must decide whether they want to re-elect the ANC government that is gonna continue with the decline of the city or if they want to vote for something different or they want to vote for change.
Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics
“That is what the people of the city voted for, the ANC does not have the majority for a reason … So there is a lot up in the air ... things could go one or two ways, but the reality is that I would not say I am confident.
“I would say that we are satisfied that we have put our offer on the table and it’s up to people to decide,” Graham said when asked whether she was confident that victory for her was certain.