Herman Mashaba was voted in as the new mayor of the economic hub of Africa. Mashaba won with 144 votes to the 125 for the ANC’s Parks Tau. Voted in as the new speaker was Vasco Da Gama and Kevin Wax was elected as chief whip.
The Johannesburg metro became one of the hung councils when there was no outright winner after the recent local government elections. As a result, the DA, EFF and other smaller parties ganged up against the ANC.
Despite their political and ideological difference, the DA and EFF were united in their resolve to unseat the ANC in the council. However, the EFF made it clear that they had not wanted Mashaba, calling him anti-black, anti-poor and politically inexperienced, and asked the DA to propose any other candidate. The DA refused.
Throughout the proceedings at the council sitting, Mashaba, who was accompanied by his wife, Connie, and daughter Nkhensani, looked relaxed and interacted with his colleagues and greeted journalists. Tau, on the other hand, looked troubled.
The mood in the ANC bench was sombre, filled with pain and tears after news came in that one of their councillors, Nonhlanhla Stompie Mthembu, had died after collapsing earlier during the meeting. Da Gama asked all councillors to stand up and have a moment of silence for the “fallen comrade”.
DA supporters started celebrating before the announcement of the results, apparently after the DA’s party agent informed them of their victory.
After the official announcement was made, they sang songs, danced and ululated.
Ironically, the EFF did not join the celebrations. They did not even applaud when Mashaba was announced as the new mayor. Most of the ANC councillors – including Tau – left the hall after casting their votes.
ANC Johannesburg regional treasurer Geoffrey Makhubo said: “We are disappointed but we are taking it on the chin. We contested every position. We are still the largest party in council with 44% of the votes. We will sit in the opposition benches but push transformation. Our aim is about changing lives for the better.”
Mashaba said one of his tasks was to find an office. Mashaba hit the ground running, scheduling a meeting with city manager Trevor Fowler for today. He says he wants to be up to speed with what is happening in the metro.
Mashaba also said he would do a skills audit at the metro.
“I need to do this skills audit so that I have an idea who is this administration. I hope and pray that everyone currently in service is committed to this idea.
“Those people who are not in the right positions – we will make sure we put them where they are supposed to go.”
Earlier, a scuffle broke out between EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu and ANC regional chairperson in Johannesburg Dada Morero. The pair had to be physically restrained.
Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, who presided over the swearing in of the councillors, was whisked away by security. The brawl came after the EFF demanded that councillors show their ballot after casting the vote.
Proceedings were also disrupted when the EFF demanded that ANC councillor Dan Bovu be excused from the house because he was a “wanted criminal”. The EFF has opened a case of corruption and bribery against Bovu, who says he’s suing them in return for defamation.