All three candidates for the Johannesburg mayorship were officially nominated on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the vote, which will take place at 2pm following an adjournment for lunch.
When the ANC’s Geoff Makhubo’s nomination was brought up by speaker Vasco da Gama, cries of of “tsotsi, tsotsi” aimed at the corruption-accused politician could be heard resounding through chambers.
Makhubo is running against the DA’s Funzela Ngobeni and the EFF’s Musa Novela.
This is the second attempt to elect the City of Johannesburg’s new mayor after proceedings were postponed last week.
The dispute over what constitutes a majority – with some parties arguing that the candidate with the highest amount of votes would become Joburg’s new mayor and others saying that a majority must mean over 50% of the vote – was resolved earlier on Wednesday.
According to Da Gama, a majority can only mean more than half of the votes. This means that of 267 councillors present, a majority vote will be 134 votes or more – equating to 50% plus one.
It was established ahead of the vote that two of councillors were not present, making the total of number of participants 267 as opposed to the expected 269 – which would be the total of seats, 270, minus that of ANC councillor David Monamodi, who passed away in November.
Da Gama also clarified that if no candidate received the majority of the votes, the candidate with the least amount of votes would be eliminated until a majority is achieved.
The vote, it was also explained, will be a secret ballot due to their being more than one mayoral candidate.
A delay then took place as the EFF objected to the speaker’s interpretation of the law.
The day began with MEC of cooperative government and traditional affairs Lebogang Maile trying to get Da Gama to meet with the chief whips of the various parties, after voicing concerns over his decision to postpone proceedings last week.
News24 reporter Matshidiso Madia tweeted that Maile threatened this morning to take over the metro if a new mayor is not elected today, echoing a warning issued by Gauteng premier David Makhura on Tuesday.
Madia also spoke to a senior ANC provincial leader who said the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has made a deal with the party, whereby it will get to positions in the executive.
However, it was reported yesterday that both the DA and the ANC appear to believe they have made a deal with the IFP, with the DA saying it had received assurance from the party’s national leaders.
The party’s provincial leadership, however, appears to have gone through with some kind of deal with the ANC.
The same leader also told Madia the EFF reached out to the party, but added that its choice of mayoral candidate – the corruption-accused Makhubo – remained a concern to the red berets.
The ANC has the most amount of seats in the Joburg council – 121 – and assuming all its councillors toe the party line, it will need an additional 15 votes from other parties.
This makes Makhubo the front runner in the mayoral race.
Makhubo was chosen by the ANC despite its provincial executive committee reportedly rejecting his candidacy.
He was accused in a report by investigative journalism centre amaBhungane of having earned R30 million as an “influence broker” in a deal between the City of Johannesburg and controversial Gupta-linked company Regiments Capital.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)