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How the ANC-EFF partnership failed in Ekurhuleni and led to the re-election of Mayor Tania Campbell

How the ANC-EFF partnership failed in Ekurhuleni and led to the re-election of Mayor Tania Campbell
Re-elected Ekurhuleni Mayor Tania Campbell is embraced by DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga. Campbell after she was reinstated on Tuesday. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

The ANC and EFF were at loggerheads about who should govern the Ekurhuleni metro, which led to the red berets using their votes to reinstate the DA’s Tania Campbell as mayor during an extraordinary council sitting at the Civic Centre Council Chambers in Germiston.

The first indicator that a partnership between the ANC and EFF would not be formed in the City of Ekurhuleni was the governing party’s decision to field a candidate for the mayoral position and the second was when the red berets withdrew their candidate.

The first nomination at the extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday morning was for the DA’s Tania Campbell. Then the EFF fielded its Gauteng chair, Nkululeko Dunga, while the ANC put forward the name of its caucus whip, Jongizizwe Dlabathi, for the mayoral position. Dunga initially accepted being nominated, but later rescinded this.

ekurhuleni dunga

EFF Gauteng chair Nkululeko Dunga withdrew his name from the Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate list. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

This meant the EFF had two options: Abstain, or vote with the DA to keep the ANC away from the mayoral chain. The red berets chose the latter, which saw Campbell reinstated by an overwhelming majority.

Read in Daily Maverick: ANC in talks with ‘a certain political party’ about taking over governance of Ekurhuleni 

Along with the EFF, the DA and its coalition partners garnered 124 votes for Campbell while Dlabathi received 99 votes, with one spoiled ballot.

This comes after the council failed to elect a mayor last week due to talks between the EFF and ANC collapsing.

ekurhuleni anc dlabathi

ANC chief whip and defeated mayoral candidate in Ekurhuleni Bongizizwe Dlabathi (right) with former Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina (left). (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

Speaking to the media after the council session, Dunga explained why he withdrew. He also denied voting with the DA, despite the tally showing otherwise.

“We withdrew on the condition that the material conditions are not favourable for an EFF candidate, having looked at both the DA and ANC fielding a candidate. We were very clear that the EFF will field a candidate and we furthermore appealed to the consciousness but also the political and ideological understanding that the councillor meeting will come to accept a mayoral candidate of the EFF.

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“The 2021 local elections show the basis of our contestation of elections was to govern; this posed an opportunity for us to at least make a meaningful contribution towards governing.

ekurhuleni anc

ANC members gesture at EFF members during a singing standoff after the DA’s Tania Campbell was elected Ekurhuleni mayor. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

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EFF councillors sing struggle songs during the caucus before the announcement of the new mayor. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

“We are not disappointed, because the EFF does not merely position itself for just looking at positions of governance internally and externally. We are in no way aggrieved, in the sense that we know we are not entitled to positions. We are not a proxy of the ANC, we are not even chess pieces of the ANC so that should answer your question,” he said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “EFF sets sights on Ekurhuleni mayorship in deal with ANC to boot DA, say insiders

The EFF was hoping to govern its first municipality by working with the ANC in Ekurhuleni. This would see the ANC being given at least seven mayoral committee positions, with the red berets at the helm.  

The negotiations included giving smaller parties such as the African Independent Congress (AIC), African Transformation Movement (ATM), Patriotic Alliance (PA), Independent Ratepayers Association of South Africa (Irasa) and PAC the responsibility of heading the municipal committees.

ekurhuleni vote

Multiparty coalition delegates cast their votes for the mayoral position in Ekurhuleni. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

Another suggestion said to have been made by the EFF was that they would have complete control over who would be on the mayoral committee, which would see the ANC completely excluded from the executive. The ANC would then get the positions of council committee chairs. However, the governing party refused to budge and neither would the EFF. 

A source said the red berets also had a problem working with the PA, and at some point demanded that the ANC ditch any agreements they had with them.

Without naming any political parties, the ANC’s Ekurhuleni chairperson, Mzwandile Masina, spoke about the “arrogance” displayed by some during the negotiation process.

“There were … many proposals, but some of the parties were hell-bent on wanting the mayoral chain and it was not about that. That is why in the ANC we could accept that even though I would have been the mayoral candidate it is time that we give it to the younger members as we push through our renewal programme.

“It is never about individuals, but what we saw was extreme arrogance in negotiations and we had to salvage the pride of the ANC.

“The EFF is our political opponent, not our enemy and that is why we wine and dine with them. We cannot do dealings as the ANC, we can only have principle agreements. We did not reach an agreement, we are not bitter. We are not members of the EFF and they are not members of the ANC. We are ready to continue our work on the opposition benches,” he said.

Campbell was ousted through a motion of no confidence two weeks ago when 100 councillors voted in favour of her removal, while 93 supported her continuing as mayor. The motion was proposed by ANC councillors Khehla Madlala and Dora Mlambo.

Speaking to the media after she was reinstated, Campbell said the minority coalition government was ready to get back to work. She said she would set up a meeting with EFF councillors to get an idea of why they are disgruntled with her leadership.

Discord within ANC ranks  

A source told Daily Maverick the ANC regional leadership in Ekurhuleni and the province had two different ideas on the direction the party should have taken. 

Another councillor told Daily Maverick the ANC caucus was given a directive at around 10.30am from the provincial leadership to stand down and vote with the EFF. This was after the Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) held an emergency virtual sitting before the meeting.

The order from the PEC was not followed.

The provincial leadership negotiating team, led by Gauteng chair Panyaza Lesufi and secretary Thembinkosi “TK” Nciza, saw it fit for the ANC to share positions — with the EFF at the helm. This would be a means to ensure their partnership in the City of Johannesburg remains intact.

Masina shut down questions about disagreements between the regional and provincial leadership, claiming the allegations were just “rumours”.

In Johannesburg, the ANC worked with the EFF to remove the then Speaker Vasco da Gama as well as Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse — a move which was supposed to symbolise the beginning of the DA’s demise in Gauteng municipalities. However, the latest developments in Ekurhuleni have presented a stumbling block for the governing party.  

Phalatse was reinstated to her position by the courts. Since then, minority parties in the City of Johannesburg, aligned to the ANC, have been plotting to have yet another motion against her, but without the backing of the EFF, the ANC will be left wanting. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    “Campbell said she would set up a meeting with EFF councillors to get an idea of why they are disgruntled with her leadership.” Good luck with that. Don’t they just do what they are told? Surely SA has bigger issues to address than petty squabbles among leaders? Well done Tania for sticking it out with such arseholes.

  • Sandra McEwen says:

    It is so encouraging to see the ANC being ousted but scary to see the EFF lurching around like a bull in a china shop. First pro ANC then pro DA. So disruptive. Poor rate payers! Hopefully they will get smart in future and vote DA.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    “Campbell said she would set up a meeting with EFF councillors, to get an idea of why they are disgruntled with her leadership”. Does she think they had bona fide reasons to be disgruntled. No. They thought they had a chance to take over and took it. .

    • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

      You really have to speak to councillors in these metros and you need to have an understanding of their history and relationships. The DA in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro held because of relations amongst its councillors and the EFF councillors. These people live in the same townships and socialise together, and this is what the DA leadership does not grasp. In April, the DA was sure to run the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and when one spoke to them, they were sure of EFF support because of relations and common view of ANC as thieves. The DA even speaks to the ANC in that Metro because they have a common history in the townships. People in suburbs do not know these relations because they are closed in their high walls. Campbell works on real time information and issues and not some ideology far removed from her!

      • Carol Green says:

        Thank you for these insights. It’s important for middle class people who are removed from township daily life get an understanding of these dynamics.

  • Ian Gwilt says:

    To celebrate the ANC failure large parts of the City have a power outage this morning.
    Coincidence ?
    Prepare for waves of “spontaneous” service delivery protests
    Of course nothing to blame on 20+ years of inept, corrupt management , rather the 10 m0nth tenure of the DA

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The ANC was too ambitious and thought that the EFF exists to further ANC interests, and this was the miscalculation of the too forward ANC Provincial Chairperson, Panyaza Lesufi. The miscalculation was to get on with the motion of no confidence in EkuRhuleni whilst Johannesburg Mayor was being reinstated by the courts. Without waiting for the resolution of Johannesburg they went to remove the EkuRhuleni Mayor and it gave the EFF an idea that they can run one of the municipalities and believed EkuRhuleni would be the ideal metro. The ANC region there asked itself why it should be the ones the Province trades with. When the ANC in the region told the Province that they are not a trading instrument with the EFF the deal fell apart and meaning the ANC is out of Johannesburg and the EFF will not support the removal of the mayor, and if they do they must hold the Mayoral chain. That is a bridge too far for the ANC and Mpho Phalatse will now remain Mayor. This has implications for the DA in Mogale City remaining unless the trade is done with Mogale and Johannesburg that have unequal budgets. Dada Morero will remain a 25 day Mayor of Johannesburg for the foreseeable future.
    The many promises Lesufi makes with the budget that has been approved in April has been telling all and sundry that he is going to do unauthorised expenditure from helicopters and other equipment that have not been budgeted for. He forgets that he must wait until next year.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Keep it up DA – one day this populace will wake up to the fact that service delivery and integrity matter most and your support will grow!

  • Stuart Hulley-Miller says:

    Time for SA to get real and structure the coalition debacle in a way that it can be fair and meaningful for all voters, not just for the small fringe parties like Gayton McKenzie, that can control a metro by using one casting vote that dis-enfranchises the majority voting public.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    when will the political prostitutes, the EFF, realise it is not about them but the people?
    to be rejected by the ANC is the pits!

    • John Smythe says:

      New elections should be held if votes of no-confidence in mayors and speakers are made. I don’t believe that the political parties are ever mandated by their voters to flip and flop and do whatever the hell they feel like doing that day or how strong their coffee was that morning. The political parties amuse themselves with the people’s votes and that habit must be stopped. Coalitions aren’t games to play like the PA and EFF seem to think is their mandate.

    • Matsobane Monama says:

      How many times did the EFF put DA in control of Metros? To say they are Racist and political prostitutes and don’t care about wellbeing of their voters is simply NOT true. They gave the reasons why they voted for Tania. Coalitions are give n take, you can’t just dictate to your partners. Dr Phalatsi n Tania mentioned that they work WELL with the EFF. The problem within the DA is Hellen Zille, she is unpredictable and plays politics of emotions. DA is fast losing voters to Action SA, i wouldn’t be surprised if they deep below 20%. Watch the space.

      • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

        When thieves masquerade as revolutionaries seek to blame the EFF for their own failures, and then take out the race card to defend corruption and poor service delivery it will not wash. The electorate has not given the ANC any mandate and the EFF does not owe the ANC any votes in any council. How the EFF votes it is their business, the ANC must look at the mess they have caused in the metros for the last 28 years and they nobody to blame but themselves this is a free country and the views of ANC cannot be imposed on any party including the EFF. To blame the EFF for voting with the DA it is their choice. The EFF paid and campaigned on its own without you and the ANC and so the best thing you must do is to shut up.

  • Robert K says:

    It is incomprehensible that these fools are in charge of a large city. There is something fundamentally wrong with us as a nation if we keep on voting for these morons.

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