How the ANC-EFF partnership failed in Ekurhuleni and led to the re-election of Mayor Tania Campbell
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 Dunga initially accepted being nominated, but later rescinded this.
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.
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.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
“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.
“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.
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.
[WATCH] Moments after Tania Campbell is reinstated as the executive mayor of Ekurhuleni pic.twitter.com/4fTlCPvIIq
— Queenin Masuabi (@Queenin_M) November 8, 2022
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