Wannabe city bosses line up for race

2011-04-02 16:28

The race is on for the position of mayor in 10 of South Africa’s leading metropolitan areas and cities.

The ANC is expected to announce its candidates for these top jobs shortly, but here are the party’s candidates most likely to hang those heavy ceremonial gold chains around their necks.

The fiercest battles are expected in Cape Town where the Democratic Alliance coalition is a force to be reckoned with and one the ANC wants to dethrone.

Johannesburg is going to be interesting given the massive billing problems experienced by residents under an ANC leadership. In the Nelson Mandela metro there is a vacuum with the slow demise of Cope. The DA is eyeing this prime spot.

Current Tshwane mayor Sputla Ramokgopa is likely to return to the post.

The 35-year-old professional engineer, who has been mayor since late last year, has the edge as the Tshwane ANC’s regional chairperson.

Some say Dikeledi Lehobye is likely to give him a run for his money, as she was the second most popular candidate on the regional candidates’ list.

Lehobye worked as a member of the Tshwane mayoral cabinet under Ramokgopa and his predecessor – his aunt, Gwen Ramokgopa.

It is understood that Tshwane wanted to submit only Ramokgopa’s name to the Gauteng ANC executive committee, but was bound by the rules to submit two other names as well.

The incumbent mayor of Mafikeng, Desmond Jabanyane, is said to be on his way out. He was appointed as mayor in February last year.

Jabanyane replaced Mosa Sejosengwe, who was recalled by the ANC and redeployed to President Jacob Zuma’s office.

The front-runner in this year’s mayoral race is believed to be Justice Makolomakwe.

An ANC insider said: “He (Makolomakwe) is a very influential figure around Mafikeng. He is not a factionalist; in fact, he is a principled man.”

Challenging Makolomakwe is Motlalepula Rosho, who is the deputy speaker in the provincial legislature. The Mafikeng region has been given until tomorrow to finalise its mayoral candidates’ list.

Parks Tau is the ANC’s most likely ca ndidate in Joburg. He is said to command overwhelming support from regional and provincial structures and has been with the city since 1995.

Tau was one of the youngest councillors on the mayoral committee. The 40-year-old Sowetan is now in charge of the city’s finance, strategy and economic development.

His term of office has been marred by chaotic billing, leading opposition parties to claim that he is not fit to be the city’s mayor.

Some in the ANC say his council experience makes him an ideal mayoral candidate.

“He is very articulate and understands issues of finance and governance,” an insider said. What distinguished Tau, he added, was his humility and excellent track record in the ANC.

“He has served the ANC with great distinction. Their are few comrades like him. His humility makes him a great leader,” the source said.

Another source said there would be no compromise on Tau, amid concern over the lack of gender parity among the ANC’s candidates.

City Press understands that Nkele Ntingane is also in the running for the mayoral position.

Ekurhuleni Metro
Described by some in the ANC as a “unifier”, incumbent Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele is set to retain his position.

He is credited with the ability to bring together factions in the ANC.

He took over from Ntombi Mekgwe last year when Mekgwe was appointed social development and health MEC.

A source said Gungubele was “a disciplined cadre of the movement and well grounded in ANC structures”.

Another source said: “H e is very particular in detail, hard-working and has the genes of the ANC running in his body.

His limitation is mainly trying to please everyone.”

A former Gauteng sports MEC and ex-ANC MP, Gungubele is seen by the different factions in the region as the more neutral candidate.

Cape Town Metro
The ANC in the Dullah Omar region of Western Cape, which covers the jurisdiction of the Cape Town metro, is yet to voice its opinion on who should lead the party in what is expected to be a fierce contest against the Democratic Alliance.

Labour federation Cosatu’s Western Cape chapter has already endorsed its own chairperson, Tony Ehrenreich, as a suitable candidate for the position.

Cape Town is the biggest uphill battle faced by the ANC because the DA is the incumbent party and any candidate will have to face off against the DA’s firebrand candidate, Patricia de Lille. The ANC has not formally announced their candidate.

Mangaung Metro
Current Mangaung mayor Playfair Morule is the favourite to run the soon-to-be-established metro.

He is currently the mayor of the Mangaung local municipality, which has its seat in Bloemfontein. He also serves on the ANC’s national executive committee.

He is said to enjoy the support of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association and the ANC Veterans’ League in Free State.

His seniority in the party stands him in good stead to lead Mangaung.

Buffalo City
Zuki Ncitha is said to be the front-runner for the position, even though there is no consensus yet on who should lead the new metro.

Ncitha is currently the speaker of the Amathole district municipality which, like Buffalo City, has its seat in East London.

She is also a member of the provincial executive committee and is said to be close to the Eastern Cape ANC’s provincial chairperson, Phumulo Masualle.

She is also the only woman heading the ANC’s list of mayoral candidates for a major city.

Nelson Mandela Metro
Former trade unionist and current mayor Zanoxolo Wayile looks set to make a comeback as the head honcho of the Nelson Mandela metro.

He arrived in 2009 to replace Nondumiso Maphazi, who was ousted before she could finish her first term in office.

Wayile is the deputy chairperson of the ANC in the region and commands support within the tripartite alliance in the province.

KwaZulu-Natal SA Communist Party chairperson James Nxumalo has emerged as the leading candidate to replace executive mayor Obed Mlaba.

Nxumalo, the speaker of the council since 2005, is one of the top-six names selected by the ANC’s eThekwini region for its list of councillors.

A former United Democratic Front activist, Nxumalo is highly popular and a skilled negotiator, known for his ability to secure consensus at council level.

His style of politics is similar to that of Mlaba, who has played a mainly ceremonial role and has been eclipsed by the city’s controversial municipal manager , Mike ­Sutcliffe.

Insiders in the region believe Fawzia Peer, who joined the ANC in 1994 and launched one of its first branches in the affluent Westville suburb, is the most likely candidate to replace Logie Naidoo as deputy mayor.

Peer is a member of the ANC’s KZN provincial executive committee and the eThekwini regional leadership.

Mina Lesom a, the deputy chairperson of Umgeni Water and deputy secretary of the ANC eThekwini re gion, has also been punted as a potential deputy mayor.

In Mbombela, the current mayor, Lassy Chiwayo, is definitely not coming back. The strongest contender for the post is Jester Sidell (the wife of the Ehlanzeni regional executive committee’s deputy chairperson, Peter Nyoni).

Mbombela speaker Micah Ntale is, however, a dark horse known for not affiliating to any faction, and has a clean image. Ntale features in the top 20 on the candidates’ list.

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