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City of Joburg’s attempt to elect mayor stalls again after ANC caucus throws spanner in the works

City of Joburg’s attempt to elect mayor stalls again after ANC caucus throws spanner in the works
Who will be mayor of Joburg? Colleen Makhubele.(Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake) | Dada Morero. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi) | Kabelo Gwamanda. (Photo: Supplied) | Councillor Margaret Arnolds. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

Tuesday’s sitting of the turbulent City of Johannesburg Council, in which a new mayor was supposed to be voted in, was marred by delays, leading to an adjournment until Friday.

Al Jama-ah councillor Kabelo Gwamanda’s mayoral candidacy appeared to be set in stone for the ANC and EFF-led  coalition until the governing party’s caucus expressed a desire to field their own candidate for mayor of the City of Johannesburg.

The key metro position is vacant after Al Jama-ah’s Thapelo Amad quit as mayor ahead of a motion of no confidence against him just more than a week ago. 

A number of sources within the party’s Johannesburg region explained that Gauteng chairperson Panyaza Lesufi and secretary Thembinkosi “TK” Nciza were at the council meeting to brief councillors about the direction the informal coalition would be taking in voting for a new mayor. This, however, met strong opposition from caucus members who believed that regional chairperson Dada Morero should be their candidate. 

Speaking to Daily Maverick, ANC Johannesburg secretary Sasabona Manganye confirmed that the caucus raised issues about Gwamanda’s candidacy.  He explained that the main argument from the perspective of the caucus was based on the new ANC framework, which states that the biggest party in a coalition should be elected mayor. However, the ANC had very little room to change its posture because of its agreement with the EFF. “Remember, the EFF wanted Ekurhuleni and then we get Johannesburg, but we refused. So, that meant that minority parties would have to get the mayoral position… We all want an ANC mayor, including the provincial leadership. The problem is not internal, it is more about the agreement of the EFF… The reality is that we will not be able to govern without the vote of the EFF,” he said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Chaotic revolving door continues to spin as Joburg gears up for ninth executive mayor in seven years

Manganye is also quite confident in Gwamanda’s capabilities, despite Amad’s botched stint as first citizen of the city. He said Amad’s performance should not be a reflection of Al Jama-ah.

“He [Gwamanda] is the national head of policy and strategy and was an adviser for the executive mayor during the tenures of Geoff Makhubo, Jolidee Matongo and Mpho Moerane. He is the secretary of the minority parties in council,” Manganye said.

If the ANC (with 91 seats) and EFF (with 29 seats), partner with the Patriotic Alliance (PA), United Independent Movement, Al Jama-ah, the African Independent Congress (AIC), African Heart Congress, UDM, Good, Cope and the African Transformation Movement (ATM), it will be enough to vote in Gwamanda as the first citizen of Johannesburg.


Al Jama-ah  has three seats in the metro, thus holding the most seats among the minority parties  which may vote in line with the ANC-EFF – for instance, the  Congress of the People has one seat and the AIC has two seats.

ActionSA’s Funzi Ngobeni will be fielded as a candidate by his own party in the hope that he will receive the DA’s backing. However, the DA has its own candidate, former mayor Mpho Phalatse.

ActionSA does have the backing of other smaller parties, but this will not be enough to ensure Ngobeni is victorious. Even with the backing of the DA it will need additional support, which it is hoping to get from the PA. 

ActionSA’s national chairperson, Michael Beaumont, told the media on Tuesday evening that they had been open to negotiating with several parties. “We have been in continuous talks with the PA and we are talks with other political parties that have been involved in that coalition – many of them who have been despondent about what is going on here today and many of them who are embarrassed to be part of a group of parties who cannot get their act together and have a council meeting and elect a mayor,” he said.

More than four hours of delays

The council sitting started at 10am with the first two agenda items going ahead, but when it was time for a new mayor to be elected, the EFF requested an hour caucus break. 

The break was to discuss who would be the final candidate for the ANC-EFF led coalition. The three candidates they had to deliberate about were the Speaker Cope’s Colleen Makhubele, the AIC’s Margaret Arnolds and Gwananda. 

After the break, Morero asked for a three-hour recess which would include a lunch break. ATM councillor Lubabalo Magwentshu asked for a one-hour break, which was granted along with an additional 20 minutes which was requested thereafter. 

When Al Jama-ah asked for yet another break, its request was met by discontent from members of the DA and ActionSA. 

ActionSA’s Lerato Ngobeni felt it would be a waste of time and taxpayers’ hard-earned money.  “May I remind this house Speaker that it cost taxpayers of the city almost half a million rand to hold this council sitting. To that end, Speaker, we therefore [beseech] you to exercise your legislation and powers to preside over these council proceedings. Let this meeting end with a duly elected executive mayor of this city. Please move for us to vote today,” she pleaded.

Makhubele adjourned the meeting, saying the council was not ready to elect new leadership. The sitting will resume on Friday. 

The election of a new mayor will be the ninth since the 2016 local government elections. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    So, the ANC & EFF have agreed to enter into a coalition without reaching actual agreement. The only thing they were able to agree on was the removal of a credible Mayor in Mpho Phalatse & replace them with a Puppet Mayor who would have been out of his depth in a puddle!
    Fast forward & the Aliiance is still not able to agree who to field as a replacement Mayor. In fact the ANC cannot even reach agreement amongst themselves as to who should be fielded!
    If Panyaza Lesufi was less of a narcissist & half as smart as he considers himself to be he might be capable of seeing the total disregard he is showing to the residents of Johannesburg. Unfortunately Lesufi is a personality type that doesn’t readily admit when they are wrong & in fact is far more likely to pursue a course of action in a quest to prove himself right than to pursue a path which has the interests of the cities residents at heart. In fact I would go one step further to suggest the EFF are ‘playing’ this Muppet but because his head is so far up his own ass one has to airmail oxygen to him, he is incapable of seeing it!

    • Graeme de Villiers says:

      Grumpy, you win the internet for the comment of the year! Lesufi as Gauteng head honcho and Mbalula as chief clown proves exactly why the ANC is incapable of self-correcting.

      • D'Esprit Dan says:

        It starts a couple of spots higher that that – South Africa’s largest ersatz billionaire, who got there simply by being a pliable fool for big business, rather than through dedication, building an empire and creating jobs, to the Deputy, a man renowned for nothing other than spending hundreds of thousands on lunches when an MEC in Gauteng; then you have an Electricity Minister so dense that a black hole would be swallowed in his shadow (I mean, really, the solution to our power crisis is to burn diesel so fast that our back up stations will collapse as well?), to any number of Ministers and Deputies who owe their trough-swilling positions to nothing more than their hierarchy in the power politics of the ANC. It’s often said that we live in a nanny state in SA – I’d say we live in a NAN state: No Ability Needed.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    so ratepayers again have to suffer while politicians play politics which essentially, they have managed to show the world how silly politicians actually are. for all the delays and the rotating door of mayors I suggest all salaries for these fat cats receive no salaries for six months. we can reconsider paying them again when they cam show the ratepayers the have their interests at heart.

  • Caroline Rich says:

    What an absolute blady circus!!! This is exactly why you have to have ONE majority opposition party to ensure that we don’t need all these coalitions. It just doesn’t work. Too many egos and corruption. It’s just ridiculous!

  • Hermann Funk says:

    They are all liars. Claiming that they have the interest of the voters at heart is disproved by their action.

  • Teresa K says:

    How about the DA demonstrate how the Moonstone pack could actually work and back Action SA’s Candidate?

    • Rod Stewart says:

      Spot on!

    • Bryan Bailey says:

      Agree as at this stage, this is really our only solution and in addition try to show people who blindly continue to vote ANC how different this Pact can solve some of SA Inc.
      uMngeni Municipality even though the DA control the muncipality is working and from what I can gather even the ANC is not causing any mayhem!

      • Roger Sheppard says:

        Perhaps a more focused consideration on the in’s and out’s of ‘happenings’ in uMngeni will reveal – easily – what transpires in that municipality. in fact it is so transparent that “gathering” is not needed. The dreadful mob-led ANC have now resorted to amalgamating Municipalities within the mGungungdlovu District, to remove the DA…a total political ploy!
        These 2 municipalities, Mpendle and Mpofana, have disastrous records, yes, disastrous records, of municipal maladmistration and malfeasance, to which, unfortunately for their very support electorate, a hugely skewed demographic status will likely just simply bring enormous suffering and disorderly living back. A lick and a taste, of a DA-recipe, of what is happening will be washed away from what has been a rising sense of hope for better things. My God, what further slaughtered base will lie in store for the poor of this country, if 2024 does not work out right? Yoh!
        Zille said, in her interview with Alec Hogg: Stats (the DA work with), strongly suggest that if every DA voter who voted in the last election, should convert but ONE person to vote DA, it would win 2024 with significant victory! Our FUTURE is in our own hands, folks!

  • Luan Sml says:

    Sometimes when words fail me, I tend to fall back on song lyrics… this is such a time.
    “ But where are the clowns,
    Send in the clowns,
    Don’t bother, they’re here”

  • Bill van Zyl van Zyl says:

    Political parties, fat cats, squabbling like children in a school playground, while they neglect their very raison d’être: To govern, to lead, to solve problems, to fix and repair, to guide and control. Cities left leaderless as the political hacks feed from the public trough, enjoying benefits that the taxpayers will never experience or even see. Huffing and puffing with self importance in the midst of their failure to provide the leadership they were elected to provide. All the parties are guilty of gross negligence.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Vultures circling for the citizens tax money’s,(apologies to the real featheredvultures)

  • William Kelly says:

    None of them deserve a vote. None of them are worthy. I’m trading in my rates for my vote, which is worthless if this is what the contempt with which we are treated. Now, dear councillors, let me show you all similar contempt.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    It is time that ratepayers pay their fees into trust accounts which might speed up the creating a competent city government.

  • Julian Chandler says:

    And this is the future of SA’s national politics, when the ANC lose their majority.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Simple solution: Parties should pay pro-rata for the time they request for caucus breaks. This would see the EFF and ATM each having to pay R100k for their hour-long breaks and the ANC the other R300k. It should be paid immediately, so as not to prejudice the taxpayer. Over the last few months we’ve had how many days set aside for challenges, votes of no-confidence, further legal challenges and yet more backstabbing and horse-trading. This time should be taken from the salaries of the parties involved. How can a party go into chambers without knowing who they will back? It’s beyond disgusting and shows the complete disdain that our politicians have for us as citizens of Joburg.

    When the ANC-EFF coalition of the contemptible ousted Mpho Palatse, they should have been forced to nominate a candidate beforehand, to be voted on immediately, or be fined for the time they wasted, commensurate with the costs. That goes for the DA and Action SA as well, if they’re going down the same road.

    Final question – what the hell costs R500k for a sitting? Now I know that Paul Mashatile used to spend that on a lunch when he was MEC for Housing in Gauteng, but can we get a breakdown of costs for this?

  • Nicol Mentz says:

    Care about service delivery! Don’t make me laugh. All they care about is tenders, lining their pockets and continuing patronage.
    The DA at least has a track record in Cape Town. Why is everybody moving there?

  • johanw773 says:

    This is not even about politics anymore, and it hasn’t been for a long time. It is simply a raw power struggle. To say that these misfits do not have the interest of the public at heart has become a cliché, no matter how true that sentiment is.
    South Africa’s downward slide continues. If I have to be cynical I have to say it is happening too slowly for my liking. Maybe it will be better if it becomes a downward plunge, so that the worst can happen and we can face our demons. In my opinion, anything will be better than this slow torture.

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