ANC at sea over retaking Jo’burg

Final days: The post of mayor of Johannesburg is up for grabs after Herman Mashaba resigned. (Thulani Mbele/Sowetan/Gallo Images)

Final days: The post of mayor of Johannesburg is up for grabs after Herman Mashaba resigned. (Thulani Mbele/Sowetan/Gallo Images)

The ANC’s attempt to take the Johannesburg metro from the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters coalition after the resignation of DA mayor Herman Mashaba appears to be floundering.

Although the ANC initiated talks with the Inkatha Freedom Party — a partner with the coalition members — and other smaller parties on the council to support its bid for the mayorship, they appear not to have borne fruit so far.

A replacement for Mashaba will be elected on November 28, the day after his final day in office. The ANC had hoped to get the IFP, which holds five seats, to back it.

But these talks, which would have seen the IFP getting the mayorship of KwaZulu-Natal municipalities in return for backing the ANC in Johannesburg, have lost momentum.

IFP national treasurer Narend Singh, who is head of its national team negotiating with the ANC and other parties, said he was not aware of any movement on the matter.

The IFP’s Gauteng chairperson, Bonginkosi Dhlamini, said that while there had been talks with the ANC about the vote of no confidence in Mashaba, there had been “nothing” since then.

“We did have discussion, but we made it clear that any agreements would be dealt with by our national leadership,” Dhlamini said.

“As far as we are concerned we are still sticking to the 2016 arrangement. We will wait for a name and then take it from there.”

Dhlamini said the IFP had been unhappy with Mashaba when he had fired its member of the management committee, Mzobanzi Ntuli “without even consulting the party” and expected the DA to offer the post back to the party.

In terms of the 2016 agreement, the IFP was given two positions on the mayoral management committee, with the second, transport, going to Nonhlanhla Makhuba.

The EFF was yet to indicate whether it would remain in the coalition with the DA, he said.

Solly Mogase, the spokesperson for the ANC Johannesburg caucus, said the party was still “confident” it would broker a deal by November 28 that would allow it to govern the city in a “partnership” with some of the smaller parties.

“We are still negotiating across party lines,” Mogase said.
“We have spoken to most, but not all, parties.”

He said the talks should be finalised by the time the council sitting takes place.“We are confident we will be successful. If negotiations go well, we may be able to take over in partnership with the smaller parties.”

Mogase said the ANC had not yet identified its mayoral candidate and would only meet to select three namesto send to the party’s national working committee for ratification once the negotiations with the other parties had been concluded.

In 2016, the DA took 121 seats in Johannesburg, ahead of the ANC’s 104 and the EFF’s 30 seats. The IFP took five seats and the African Independent Congress four. The African Christian Democratic Party, Freedom Front Plus, Al Jama-ah, the Congress of the People and the Patriotic Alliance each took one seat.

In July, the ANC took one ward, Ward 109, off the DA in one of four by-elections. The DA retained the other three, with the shift in the balance of power raising the ANC’s hopes of a takeover should the DA-EFF coalition collapse.

DA Gauteng leader John Moody said there was “nothing happening as yet” regarding the party’s nomination of a new mayoral candidate.

He said there had been no discussion thus far with the EFF.

DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the EFF had not indicated that there had been any change to the coalition arrangement.

“Part of the coalition agreement is about the composition of the management committee, so there will have to be discussions with the coalition partners around that,” Malatsi said.

He said the DA’s selection panel would meet on November 11 to interview the candidates nominated for the mayor’s post and present its choice to the federal executive. The party would then initiate talks about the composition of the mayoral committee with its partners.

Attempts to secure comment from EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi were unsuccessful by the time of publication.

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