The ANC managed to retain Ekurhuleni Municipality by 11 votes, making former trade and industry minister and staunch supporter of President Jacob Zuma Mzwandile Masina the new mayor.
Ekurhuleni was one of the 27 hung municipalities where no party managed a majority win after the local government elections. Through last-minute agreements between the ANC, the Patriotic Alliance (PA), the Independent Ratepayers’ Association (IRA) and a previous agreement with the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), as well as the African Independent Congress, the party managed to have its candidate and incumbent speaker, Patricia Khumalo and Masina elected to run the council.
The DA failed to garner enough support from other opposition parties, despite an agreement with the EFF, Cope, UDM and, as of last week Sunday, the IFP.
But the event was not without numerous delays, as councillors from the EFF and the DA bemoaned the fact that Masina was not, to their knowledge, confirmed as off the payroll of Cabinet and parliament at the time of his nomination.
This, the opposition councillors said, meant that he could not legally be elected mayor. But Khumalo insisted that not only was Masina legally eligible to stand for the election, by virtue of his resignation from both portfolios, but it was also too late to challenge his nomination because he had already been accepted by the IEC as a candidate.
The DA’s Ghaleb Cachalia repeatedly asked Khumalo to confirm whether Masina was no longer being paid as a deputy minister and member of parliament, to which the speaker gave no direct answer accept to say that Masina would not have made the candidate list if he were not eligible. Cachalia then rose to announce that he would be laying a formal complaint in a bid to have the proceedings deemed null and void.
Proceedings continued nevertheless and Masina was voted in.