Johannesburg has a new ANC mayor — thanks to the DA



ANC Johannesburg chairperson Geoff Makhubo has been elected as mayor of South African’s economic hub, after at least two members of the Democratic Alliance voted against their own mayoral candidate, Funzela Ngobeni.

Makhubo — a former finance MMC who was embroiled in a R30-million scandal over doing business with the city — beat Ngobeni, who secured 101 votes, by a 26 vote margin. A total of 104 DA councillors voted in the mayoral election in which the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) fielded its caucus chairperson, Musa Novela, who received 30 votes out of a total of 267 votes cast.

The Mail & Guardian understands that the ANC offered the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) two seats on the mayoral committee along with the mayorship of the Abaqulusi Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, in return for backing Makhubo.

Neither Makhubo nor ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, who was at the council meeting along with the ANC’s provincial leadership, would comment on the content of the deal struck with the IFP.

The election of Makhubo ends rule of the city by the DA-lead coalition with the EFF and IFP since 2016, when they won control of the city from the ANC. It also marks the end of the coalition between the opposition parties, which was broken by the resignation of Herman Mashaba as mayor at the end of October.

Makhubo defended his election, saying that while his company had done business with the city from 2004, he had declared this interest when he became a councillor in 2011.

“We are not fazed by those allegations,” Makhubo said shortly after being elected. “The EFF want to remain kingmakers. It doesn’t matter who would have stood, they would have thrown everything at them.’’

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who was involved in talks with Magashule ahead of the vote, had told the media the choice of Makhubo had stopped the EFF from backing the ANC candidate.

Makhubo said he would do his best to serve the people of Johannesburg.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, who was at the council meeting with Magashule, called on the media and political parties to show Makhubo the same respect they had shown Mashaba.

“Geoff was cleared by the integrity commission. He is the chair of the region and now he is going to be mayor of the city until 2021,” Mabe said.

Shivambu said there would be no legal challenge to the electoral process. EFF candidate Musa Novela had earlier challenged a plan for a run-off election, resulting in a decision to hold a single vote with the candidate that got 50% of the votes cast, plus one vote, emerging as mayor.

But Shivambu did say that the EFF would not support any budget presented by Makhubo as he “cannot be trusted” with public finances.

“We will not hand over the purse of Geoff Makhubo. He is not to be trusted with the finances of the city. That is why we told the ANC anyone else but Geoff,” Shivambu said.

DA Gauteng chairperson Mike Moriarty said he was “very disappointed” that DA councillors had voted for the ANC.

While he downplayed the numbers, Moriarty said all non-ANC councillors who voted for Makhubo needed to examine their consciences for voting for “somebody who is thoroughly compromised”.

Moriarty said the outcome was a “very sad day” for Johannesburg and the country.

“The people who need to drive home tonight and ask themselves what they have done are the councillors who aren’t from the ANC, as 15 other councillors voted for him.”

He added that the DA councillors who voted for Makhubo “shouldn’t stay a second longer” in the party. 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories


Subscribers only

ANC’s rotten apples on the chopping block

Now that the NEC has finalised its step-aside guidelines for those facing corruption charges, a swathe of officials will struggle to cling to their positions

Sisulu and Dlodlo punted to be on their way out

Because President Cyril Ramaphosa won the step-aside order in the ANC’s national executive committee, a cabinet reshuffle looms, with Sisulu and Dlodlo’s names on comrades’ lips

More top stories

Analysts expecting another attack ‘in the next few months’ in...

The extremist insurgency in Mozambique has been an ongoing threat since 2017. SADC needs to act now, say analysts

SIU probes how master of the high court fleeces the...

While the SIU delves into dozens of allegations of fraud, corruption and misconduct against officials at the master of the high court, many families have been left destitute after the death of their loved ones.

Barred neonatal visits hurt infants

Some nurses chose to ignore the no-visit rule, and now the health department has allowed mothers to feed their premature infants

SA will miss UN’s clean water targets

Mismanagement, pollution and a water deficit exacerbated by climate change are to blame

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…