As the dust settles after “metro madness” on Monday, 22 November, we have a clearer picture of the political winners and losers in South Africa’s economic hubs. The Democratic Alliance (DA) appears to be the biggest winner, on paper, while the African National Congress is quite the opposite and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) finally get a shot at demonstrating their ability to govern.
DA WOMEN MAYORS
Mpho Phalatse is the new executive mayor of the City of Johannesburg, ousting the ANC’s Mpho Moerane with 144 votes to 121.
In Ekurhuleni, Tania Campbell beat Mzwandile Masina with 116 votes to 105.
The DA also won the speaker positions in both metros – Vasco da Gama in Johannesburg and Raymond Dhlamini.
Phalatse said she was honoured to be the first woman mayor of the City of Johannesburg, while Campbell remarked that she was humbled by the faith and trust placed in her.
EFF AND ACTIONSA?
The DA won the mayor and speaker positions in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni – both hung councils – despite the fact that they could not reach a coalition agreement with the opposition parties.
In fact, they won the top seats with help from the EFF and ActionSA – parties they have disparaged throughout the election campaign.
DA leader John Steenhuisen repeted that he would not form unstable coalitions multiple times on the campaign, adding that the DA would rather act as the opposition, if that were the case.
Just yesterday, Helen Zille said, “We cannot allow the EFF in by the back door, where they pretend to be out of government but are actually the puppet masters behind a minority coalition led by Herman Mashaba. We tried that before and it failed. We learn from experience and keep our promises.”
As things stand, the DA will have to rely on the EFF and ActionSA’s support to pass crucial matters, including budgets in both the Gauteng metros.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said the parties in council voted with the DA in Johannesburg because they wanted to remove the ANC.
“The DA needs to talk to us and by us I also mean the EFF. That is if they are serious about having a stable government,” said Mashaba.
Malema has kept mum but he confirmed that the EFF voted with the DA in Johannesburg.
Only time will tell whether the DA can minority government will be able to run the metros effectively.
The ANC had a coalition agreement in place with the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal – the parties announced that they would support each other in hung councils where they had the highest number of seats – or so they thought.
On Monday, however, voting patterns revealed that the IFP double crossed the ANC. The ruling party was outmanoeuvred by the opposition and IFP in Newcastle and uMvoti, according to The Witness. The IFP won control of the Newcastle Local Municipality.
By late afternoon, even the eThekwini metro was thought to be in the balance – and as things stand, the ANC may be ousted there as well because the IFP is working with the DA and other political parties in the metro council vote.
The eThekwini council managed to elect speaker – the ANC’s Thabani Nyawose – but power cuts and ANC supporters that rushed into the venue at Moses Mabhida stadium marred the proceedings.
Selloane Motjeane was elected as the Executive Mayor of the Metsimaholo Local Municipality in the Free State on Monday.
The EFF placed third in Metsimaholo with 12 council seats but managed to negotiate their way into power in the hung council.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) in coalition with the ANC and others previously governed the municipality.
In 2017, the municipality was dissolved by the Free State government for failing to pass a budget, according to IOL.
The EFF has quite a challenge on its hands as the local government has been plagued by infighting and financial challenges.
The ruling party probably did not expect things to get much worse after they scored less than 50 percent of the national vote for the first time in our democracy after the election results were announced in early November.
The party just about won back the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMB) in the Eastern Cape, where it also claimed the Buffalo City Metro (BCM).
However, as things stand, the ruling party looks set to control just three out of eight of the country’s urban centres – NMB, BCM and the Mangaung Metro. Tshwane and eThekwini are still up for grabs, but based on Monday’s madness it seems highly unlikely that the ANC will emerge victorious.
The ANC’s performance in the 2021 Local Government Elections does not bode well for the 2024 General Elections, which is around the corner, as the opposition parties seem determined to oust the ruling party despite fundamental differences.