The Star Late Edition
ANC slated for delayed Joburg mayoral vote
THE MAYORSHIP of Johannesburg has become a political hot potato for the ANC, which has been blamed for the postponement of the election of the mayor by its coalition partners.
On Tuesday, the council was expected to vote for the executive mayor of the City of Joburg, but councillors spent most of the day – from 10am to 6pm – in caucus breaks, which left the speaker of council, Colleen Makhubele, with no choice but to postpone the sitting to elect the mayor.
The ANC’s coalition partners have accused the party of being disorganised and taking them for granted. The Star understands that it was the ANC that was expected to choose a suitable candidate for the mayoral position from among the minority parties that are part of its coalition.
But even after a number of caucus breaks, it seems that there were differing views from within the ANC on who should emerge as the mayor.
Sources inside the ANC said a faction in the Johannesburg region of the party was not keen on having a mayor from the minority parties and wanted the ANC’s regional chairperson, Dada Morero, to become the mayor. The names of Margret Arnolds and Kabelo Gwamanda had also been tossed around in the discussions. Having a minority mayor was part of an ANC-EFF deal that has seen the two parties co-governing in some municipalities in Gauteng.
The leader of the African People’s Convention (APC), Themba Godi, said he was disappointed in the behaviour of the ANC in council. He said all coalition partners were clear that Johannesburg would have a mayor by the end of business on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed by what did not happen on Tuesday. The ANC was going to come with a name from within the minority parties, so when it was time to elect a mayor, the ANC was not ready. We sat the whole day waiting for them to make a pronouncement and we never got anything from them,” Godi said.
Godi said the disorganisation of the ANC created a bad impression of the coalition among residents of the city and the rest of the country.
“Coalitions are as stable as the parties that constitute them organisationally and politically. There are many countries that are in coalitions and they are stable and productive,” he said.
Patriotic Alliance (PA) deputy president Kenny Kunene also took a swipe at the ANC. He said the longer Johannesburg remains without a mayor, the more service delivery would be affected.
“The ANC must stop getting us involved in their factions. For them not to be able to find each other on the matter of the candidate is disappointing; it is a waste of our time at best. This affects citizens badly because when there is no mayor, council cannot sit to pass resolutions,” Kunene said.
The office of the speaker of council said another extraordinary council meeting will take place tomorrow. All political parties were expected to have their houses in order by then.
Meanwhile, the ANC national communications team referred all queries to the ANC provincial spokesperson, Lesego Makhubela, who told The Star that he was out of the country. Makhubela referred all queries to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, who had not replied to written questions.
In the meantime, tensions within the Johannesburg region of the ANC continue to simmer, with two factions vying to gain control of the City of Joburg.