/ 8 November 2021

DA federal executive warms up to ActionSA’s Mashaba as Joburg mayor

Herman Mashaba said 181 000 potholes have been repaired, 520 kilometres of road have been resurfaced, 120 traffic lights have been recabled and 37 kilometres of water pipes have been refurbished. Gallo
ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba. (Gallo)

The Democratic Alliance’s federal executive committee is said to be warming up to the idea of electing ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba as mayor of Johannesburg once again. 

The fedex met on Sunday to discuss possible coalition agreements after last week’s local government elections resulted in several hung municipalities. According to two of its members, the party leaders were all in agreement that they would not enter into coalition with the ruling ANC. 

“Fedex was unanimous that [there be] no deal with ANC. There were some who were thinking is it possible to revisit a deal with the EFF at least in the Nelson Mandela Bay,  but the EFF  has demands that are too much,” one party leader said. 

A team negotiating for the DA in the coalition talks met with ActionSA’s team this weekend but “nothing was finalised,” the fedex member said. “People are coming around to the idea that if Mashaba makes demands — it becomes an omnibus deal that covers Johannesburg and Tshwane — then we can consider it. We suspect they will come back and say we will work together, but we still want the mayoral seat.” 

As results were trickling in last week at the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s results centre in Tshwane — showing that Mashaba would become the kingmaker in Johannesburg — DA leader John Steenhuisen told the Mail & Guardian he would not be willing to elect him as mayor. 

“We are happy to talk about mayco [mayoral council] seats et cetera; we are happy to talk about sharing portfolios, but it would be very difficult as the lead party in a coalition to hand the mayoralty to a small party,” he said. 

ActionSA party leaders charged with the coalition negotiations are expected to meet with the DA’s leaders, including Steenhuisen and federal council chair Helen Zille, this week. 

While the DA has ruled out any possible coalition with the EFF, former Nelson Mandela Bay DA mayor Nqaba Bhanga reportedly raised concern over the decision.

“Nelson Mandela Bay is a big problem because we have declared that we will not work with the EFF,” another DA party leader said. “Nationally, we don’t want to work with the EFF; but we could have empowered our local figures by giving them an option and then we [would] give ourselves some breathing space. 

“This [Nelson Mandela Bay] is the one metro we really shouldn’t lose because we have done so much work there. [Bhanga] argued that we are letting people down [by not considering all potential coalition formulations]. Our members in the Bay don’t know how they can work this out without the EFF, the numbers just don’t add up.”

The DA needs 136 seats to regain Johannesburg, having won 71 at last week’s elections, behind the ANC. ActionSA became the third largest  party in the Johannesburg council with 44 seats. 

In Tshwane, the DA won 69 seats while ActionSA took 19. All political parties have a short window to close negotiations as municipal councils must be constituted by 23 November.