DA mayors set to lead Pretoria and Johannesburg

Posted 18 August 2016 Written by Business Day
Category Politics

The Democratic Alliance (DA), with the support of smaller parties, is set to appoint mayors for Johannesburg and Pretoria. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party will not join a formal alliance with the DA, but will vote with it on specific issues, according to Business Day.

Johannesburg and Tshwane will be led by DA mayors, after the EFF on Wednesday agreed to vote with opposition parties, including SA’s main opposition party, in all hung councils, so as to weaken the ANC.

With the EFF vote, and that of several smaller parties, the DA is set to take over the capital, Tshwane; Johannesburg, the country’s economic heartland; Mogale City in Gauteng; and Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape. The EFF has decided not to enter into any formal coalitions, but has agreed to vote with opposition parties to form councils, and will decide on how it votes on other issues on an ad-hoc basis.

But the EFF has made an urgent appeal to the DA not to nominate Herman Mashaba (pictured) as its mayor in Johannesburg, because the party says he is "an embarrassment". The Johannesburg mayor is due to be elected at the first council meeting next week.

After telling the media earlier on Wednesday that it had "a small condition" outstanding before it could back the DA, EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema explained on Wednesday night that the condition (to remove Mashaba) was not a deal-breaker, but that the EFF believed it was in everyone’s best interests that he be removed, as Mashaba would jeopardise the entire project,

Mashaba, the former businessman and Black Like Me founder, put his foot in it during the campaign when he spoke out against black economic empowerment; called for policies and laws based on race to be scrapped; and reportedly said poor people were more susceptible to corruption when placed in leadership positions because they had not learnt how to handle money. He did not fare well in the election campaign when up against candidates from other parties.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane confirmed that the EFF had asked the DA to reconsider Mashaba as Johannesburg mayoral candidate, but said that the DA could not abuse the electorate, which he said had supported Mashaba when they voting.

However, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, who announced that his party would enter into a coalition with the DA, and was also present at the media conference with Maimane, said "anything was possible" before the Monday sitting, and hinted that Mashaba could still be replaced. This was confirmed by insiders in the DA.

On Wednesday, Mashaba said he was "a bit confused and stunned" by the EFF’s condition. "Maybe they (EFF) know something I don’t know. I will leave it to the party to make a decision on it," he said. Mashaba said he would step down as mayoral candidate if that was what the DA wanted. "It’s not about me, it’s about the country," he said.

Maimane welcomed the EFF’s overtures and described the outcome of the 2016 local government elections as a "historic moment". The underlying principle of the agreement was to bolster service delivery, including clean, efficient and transparent governance, no blue lights, open tenders and employing people with the correct skills to municipal posts.

In Mogale City in Gauteng, the DA may take over by one seat. It is understood that the party was discussing a possible mayor for the municipality on Wednesday.

The EFF will support the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in all hung municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. DA federal chairman James Selfe said the DA too had a "reciprocal agreement" with the IFP — the DA would vote to allow the IFP to govern where it needed votes in KwaZulu-Natal, and vice-versa.

Malema said the EFF would vote in Rustenburg with the Forum 4 Service Delivery, made up of independent candidates, some of whom are disgruntled former ANC members. Six parties would have to come together in Rustenburg for the opposition to take over from the ANC. Malema said both the ANC and the DA did not meet the EFF’s basic conditions for a coalition, which include the expropriation of land without compensation and the nationalisation of mines and banks.

He made additional demands to the ANC, including a judicial investigation into the Gupta family, the removal of President Jacob Zuma as head of state, and an assurance that no nuclear deal with the Russians would take place.

But the ANC did not agree to these terms, and the EFF opted not to throw its support behind the party.

"The ANC had a choice between Zuma and the metros … they chose Zuma … so, let them lose the metros," Malema said.

"This is the new politics," he said.

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