ANC to form Joburg coalition as Makhubo takes mayoral chains
Newly elected Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo has announced that the ANC will establish a formal coalition with the parties who helped elect him on Wednesday. While the ANC orchestrated the collapse of the DA-led coalition, Makhubo twisted the knife on Thursday, claiming the city is on the brink of financial collapse.
The ANC will enter into a formal coalition in Johannesburg with the parties that helped elect Geoff Makhubo as mayor, signalling an end to the DA’s coalition arrangement that helped it take the city after the 2016 elections.
Makhubo, speaking at the city council on Thursday, thanked the African Independent Congress (AIC), Al Jama-ah, Congress of the People (Cope), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and United Democratic Movement (UDM).
He said the ANC is negotiating executive positions with the parties and he would announce his leadership team by the weekend.
“Yes, we’re going into a formal coalition with the parties. We are negotiating at the moment who will lead what. We will be an all-encompassing government, not a government of the DA,” he said.
Makhubo won 137 votes in Wednesday’s mayoral election. The ANC has 121 seats, the IFP five and AIC four. Cope, UDM, Al Jama-ah and the PA each have one seat. While the DA has 103 seats, its candidate Funzela Ngobeni only won 101 votes. The EFF has 30 seats and its candidate Musa Novela received 30 votes.
Makhubo wouldn’t comment on ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule’s claim that 11 DA councillors in Johannesburg want to join the governing party. He said because the vote was conducted by secret ballot he did not know if DA councillors voted for him.
Former mayor Herman Mashaba was elected for the DA in 2016 in a coalition that included the IFP, UDM and Cope, as well as other parties, and had loose support from the EFF, which voted with the coalition on an issue-by-issue basis.
Mashaba said Makhubo’s election was proof the DA wanted to push him out of government.
“The fact that some DA Councillors elected to vote for Makhubo over their own candidate demonstrates why I had to leave the DA. The DA of today is clearly not the DA that I joined – not when they support an allegedly corrupt person,” said the former mayor in a statement on Thursday.
“That my former coalition partners have abandoned the multi-party government speaks clearly to the fact that I am not alone in my view.”
Makhubo, who served as finance MMC under former mayor Parks Tau, has been linked to a controversial city contract with Regiments, which allegedly netted his company an estimated R30-million. He has denied the allegations and, according to ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, was cleared by the ANC’s integrity commission.
DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson Mike Moriarty said Makhubo was allegedly looting the city’s coffers instead of serving the people of Johannesburg during his previous stint in the executive. He said Makhubo’s election with the help of members of the DA and its coalition partners was a betrayal.
Both the EFF and DA have vowed to challenge Makhubo’s government. If the DA’s coalition partners the Freedom Front Plus and African Christian Democratic Party, which each have one seat, continue to support the party, they will have 135 seats in council, or half of the votes, and could prevent the ANC from passing a budget.
That is dependent, however, on the DA’s councillors voting according to the party line. Now in power, the ANC may also be able to woo over other opposition parties to maintain its majority.
“I want to cross that bridge when we get there,” said Makhubo on having to pass a budget.
Outlining his plans for the city, the mayor said he would improve its finances and focus on service delivery in townships, inner-city areas and informal settlements. The DA has strongly rejected the ANC’s claims that it left Johannesburg’s finances in ruin.
“As a government led by the ANC, we remain committed to dealing with corruption and malfeasance in the City of Johannesburg,” said Makhubo.
He said Johannesburg’s books could have led to the city’s “financial collapse” and has led to service delivery failures such as waste going uncollected, traffic light interruptions, an increase in the number of potholes, suppliers not being paid and an increase in land invasions.
“In the last three years, we have endured divisiveness and a highly toxic political and administrative environment,” said Makhubo.
He said the City would reinstate its policy of providing six kilolitres of water to all residents. Mashaba’s government only offered free water to residents registered as indigent. He said the City will also focus on increasing waste collection, promoting integrated human settlements, and improving safety. DM