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ANC’s Nkosindiphile Xhakaza is elected unopposed as mayor of Ekurhuleni

ANC’s Nkosindiphile Xhakaza is elected unopposed as mayor of Ekurhuleni
Nkosindiphile Xhakaza has been elected as the mayor of Ekurhuleni. (Photo: Supplied)

The ANC in Ekurhuleni has repeatedly argued that it must be given a chance to govern because it occupies the majority of the seats in the council and has the most experience in governance. On Thursday, it took back the mayoral chain, with Nkosindiphile Xhakaza elected unopposed as the new executive mayor.

Since the 2021 local government elections, the ANC has been working to regain control of Gauteng’s three metropolitan areas – Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.

Part of its plan to regain the metros was to form an alliance with the EFF. The two parties have, however, not always seen eye to eye. In Ekurhuleni their relationship broke down over time, but it appears that they have since found one another again. 

This was evident on Thursday, 11 April 2024, during an extraordinary council meeting which saw the ANC take back the mayoral chain, with Nkosindiphile Xhakaza elected unopposed as the new executive mayor. 

He is the fourth mayor to be elected in Ekurhuleni in less than four years. 

His election comes after his predecessor, Sivuyile Ngodwana, from the African Independent Congress, was sacked through a motion of no confidence on 28 March 2024 with 42 votes in favour of his removal and 32 against after the ANC and DA abstained. 

Xhakaza was group corporate and shared services MMC in Ngodwana’s administration and was finance and economic development MMC when the ANC’s Mzwandile Masina was mayor.

Thursday’s council meeting took place three hours after it was scheduled to begin. Prior to Thursday’s sitting, meetings to elect a new mayor were postponed at least twice, meaning the City was in breach of the Municipal Structures Act, which stipulates that a mayor must be elected within seven days. 

The delay on Thursday was partly owing to a meeting between the council speaker, Nthabiseng Tshivhenga, from the EFF, and the Gauteng MEC for cooperative governance, Mzi Khumalo, who discussed the imminent danger of having to dissolve the council should it fail to elect a new mayor.  

Daily Maverick previously reported that Khumalo had instructed Tshivhenga to reconvene the postponed council meeting no later than Friday, 12 April 2024.

“I hereby, in the spirit of cooperative governance, respectfully advise that the Municipal Council must reconvene a council meeting by no later than 12 April 2024 to elect a new executive mayor.

“Failing which, the provincial executive council will have no option but to explore and consider its constitutional powers to resolve the inability of the municipal council to duly elect an executive mayor,” the letter warned. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Yet another Ekurhuleni mayoral election will test the ANC-EFF alliance 

ANC thanks EFF

For the past two weeks, the four biggest political parties in the municipality – the ANC, DA, EFF and ActionSA – have been locked in various meetings to discuss whom they would endorse as the next mayor. None of the parties has the majority to pick a mayor single-handedly. 

The chairperson of the ANC in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, admitted negotiations had been difficult as all the stakeholders had to put the interests of the Ekurhuleni residents first. 

“We consulted each and every political party, and I want to thank the EFF and all other political parties that are part of this council. Unanimously, we indicated that time has arrived to stabilise this municipality. Unanimously, we agreed that the party with a majority must lead this municipality.”   

ActionSA was initially expected to put forward the name of its caucus leader, Siyanda Makhubo, for mayor. On Wednesday, it backtracked on the basis that it had not garnered enough support, particularly that of the DA.  

Makhubo said: “ActionSA would rather continue to hold the impending government to account and will insist that the incoming mayor must be competent enough to stabilise the finances of the city, implement the institutional review and ensure that quality services are delivered to our residents.” 

Ekurhuleni has in recent years been on a downward trajectory.  

In 2022/23, the municipality received an unqualified audit opinion with material findings, while in the previous three years, it received an unqualified audit opinion without findings. The only other metro to receive an unqualified audit opinion without findings in 2021/22 was the City of Cape Town. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ekurhuleni loses clean audit status after attempt to oust mayor stalls again

Last year, the Auditor-General flagged concerns about Ekurhuleni’s irregular expenditure of more than R20-million and noted the city’s weak internal mechanisms on contract, procurement and supply chain management. 

Last month, the credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the metro’s ratings further into “junk” status in the wake of its worsening financial position. 

The ANC said it was confident that Xhakaza would bring about the much-needed stability. DM

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