DEMOCRACY AT THE CROSSROADS
Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie wants to be the next mayor of Joburg
Following criticism of the current Johannesburg mayor, Central Karoo District mayor Gayton McKenzie has availed him for the position. McKenzie also announced his party has ditched the ANC as a coalition partner in three regions.
Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader and current Central Karoo District executive mayor Gayton McKenzie has thrown his hat into the ring to become the next City of Johannesburg (CoJ) mayor should a motion of no confidence against current mayor Thapelo Amad succeed.
McKenzie announced on Wednesday during a Facebook Live event that he was resigning as mayor of the Central Karoo after a year in the post and announced that the PA would support ActionSA’s motion of no confidence in the City of Johannesburg leadership.
McKenzie, jailed decades ago as a teenager for a failed bank robbery, went on to become a motivational speaker, author and businessperson. He founded the PA in 2013 with his friend Kenny Kunene – with the pair acting as party president and deputy president, respectively.
He made headlines in April 2022 when he was appointed as a councillor of the Laingsburg municipality, where he was seconded to the district council.
McKenzie lives in Beaufort West but has homes in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The PA is in an alliance with the ANC and the Karoo Democratic Force (KDF) to govern the region via the district council and local municipalities.
When he was elected as mayor last year, he promised that he would only be mayor for a year.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Central Karoo mayor Gayton McKenzie calls illegal immigrants a ‘stain’ and warns of ‘citizen’s arrests’
During the live session on Thursday, McKenzie said the Johannesburg coalition had initially chosen Margaret Arnolds from the African Independent Congress to become mayor but the ANC had said Amad should be voted in.
McKenzie said Amad was not fit to be a mayor, referring to the recent controversial interview where the mayor said he had secured a potential loan of R9.5-billion from a private financier aimed at addressing service delivery and also building a smart city.
There has since been a backlash against Amad’s statement, with the city’s finance MMC Dada Morero stating that he had no knowledge of this deal.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Joburg coalition partners angry with Al Jama-ah for defending mayor’s R9.5-billion loan comments
McKenzie also announced his party had decided to withdraw from supporting the ANC in Gauteng, Free State and Northern Cape.
“The mayor can fire Kenny Kunene, we don’t care. We will vote the mayor out. Joburg deserves better,” McKenzie said.
He said he had spoken to DA leader John Steenhuisen, Freedom Front Plus and ActionSA and it had been partially agreed that McKenzie would become mayor.
In a follow-up statement, McKenzie said Johannesburg needed a mayor who would restore law and order, who was unafraid to fire “the proxies of the corrupt, masquerading as officials, and who will reignite investment in the top metro economy in Africa”.
As he did in the Central Karoo, he promised not to draw a salary but would donate it to charity.
“I will not use the municipal vehicles or bodyguards. This is not about what I will be able to take but what I am willing to give. It is about service and country duty.”
McKenzie pointed out that the DA would have a choice to either accept the PA’s offer and make him a mayor or let the ANC remain in the controlling seat by letting Amad remain as mayor.
In an interview with Biz News on Wednesday, ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba indicated that he was open to working with McKenzie, saying that McKenzie did not collapse the City of Johannesburg.
“I think that we need to really be fair to Gayton and the PA,” Mashaba said. “We cannot have the ANC and EFF (coalition) in the City of Johannesburg. It’s unacceptable for us to sit back when we can put together a multiparty government. It is for that reason that as ActionSA we decided to do it on our own (put a motion of no confidence) and we will then start negotiating with other parties, including Gayton, to support us.”
DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga said the party had not committed to anything and would commit once it knew the terms of the coalition:
“As far as we are concerned, there is no coalition or agreement whatsoever,” he told Daily Maverick. “If there is no agreement we will not be able to comment on whether we support or we will not be supporting (McKenzie).
“We are not going into any kind of coalition if we do not know the solution. The solution is not just replacing the mayor; the solution is putting a government that is going to work and turn the financial situation around.”
Msimanga said he felt vindicated that McKenzie wanted to be mayor of Johannesburg as he had said before that McKenzie was all about getting positions. “He is only moving now because the EFF snubbed him in Ekurhuleni and wants to punish them in Johannesburg. We are not foolish to believe that his roundabout turn is out of the goodness of his heart.”
Thanks, Rob. Much appreciate your kind words.
I am doing this brutal work because I deeply LOVE my country and its people and hate what is being done to it. pic.twitter.com/Q7QBHDPacR
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) April 12, 2023
DA Johannesburg caucus leader and former mayor Mpho Phalatse said the removal of Amad was long overdue.
“As the DA we would’ve loved to have a clear plan of action before tabling a motion of no confidence, but things have deteriorated to a point where there is an urgency to act so we will certainly be supporting the motion.”
She said the party had also submitted its own motions against the mayor, the speaker and the chief whip to guarantee success.
“Members of the opposition are yet to decide on the composition of a newly proposed alternative. I will certainly be availing myself to continue the good work of our ousted multiparty government. This would make for greater continuity following a short three-month interruption. Many of the plans we had set in motion would be fairly easy to reinstate and fast track.”
On McKenzie’s offer, she said all opposition parties had a right to put their proposals forward.
The ANC’s Dada Morero said at this stage the party had not taken any decision on whether to support McKenzie. DM