DA ‘confident’ it will be able to retain Joburg mayorship

DA City of Joburg mayoral candidate Funzi Ngobeni
DA City of Joburg mayoral candidate Funzi Ngobeni

In less than 24 hours the Johannesburg council will be voting for a new mayor to lead the country’s economic hub.

However, there seems to be uncertainty about the ANC candidate.

The governing party issued a statement about three candidates who were submitted to the provincial executive committee for consideration.

The provincial office bearers are now expected to liaise with national party officials as part of a process to forward their final candidates.

Sources in the ANC previously told City Press that the party’s Johannesburg regional chairperson, Geoff Makhubo, was the favourite candidate.

However, there are two other contenders still in the mix – councillors Nonceba Molwela and Jolidee Matongo.

City Press last month reported that the ANC managed to entice the African Independent Congress (AIC) and Al Jama-ah to vote with it, and negotiations were continuing with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

This is contrary to DA mayoral candidate Funzi Ngobeni’s belief that the IFP would continue to be in a coalition agreement with them.

In a 270-seat council, the ANC has 122 seats in the council, the DA has 103, the EFF has 30, the IFP has five, the AIC has four and the six smaller parties have one seat each.

The DA walks into the council confident that it will be able to retain the mayoral position, Ngobeni told City Press on Wednesday.

The DA negotiations have been led by the party’s head of governance, James Selfe, provincial leader John Moodey and provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty.

“From the feedback that I have been receiving from the negotiations team, negotiations have been going well. They have been talking to our current coalition partners – the IFP, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress Of The People, the Freedom Front Plus and the United Democratic Movement,” Ngobeni said.

The EFF has in the past supported the DA on a case-by-case basis, but this time around it has expressed its desire to lead in Johannesburg.

Ngobeni confirmed that the DA had “not been able to bring the EFF on board”.

The red berets on Tuesday announced that Johannesburg chairperson Musa Novela would be their candidate.

“The nomination follows the decision that our governance experience and understanding of the inner workings of government at all levels, as well as our correct manifesto priorities place the EFF as the most suitable organisation to lead the City of Johannesburg,” the party said.

Ngobeni believes that the decision by the EFF to fly solo was inevitable as the red berets have in the past expressed their dissatisfaction with certain issues.

“Even before the election of Helen Zille and John Steenhuisen, at some point they said they would stop voting with us and that was for various reasons. They have indicated that they are not in a coalition with us and that is true,” Ngobeni said.

He, however, believes that political parties should be able to set their differences aside to serve the people of Johannesburg, and that the DA and EFF should be able to “find each other”.

READ: ANC’s big effort to reclaim Joburg from DA

“We should put our ideologies aside. We should put our self-interest aside and really look at how best to serve the residents of Johannesburg.”

The DA mayoral candidate has said that he is ready to lead Johannesburg, citing that he has “grown politically, as an administrator and as part of Herman Mashaba’s executive team.

“I have worked closely with him since 2016, not only in the finance department, [but also in] development planning as a [member of the mayoral committee]. The responsibilities he has given to me have shown that he has confidence in me and in most cases I have delivered,” said Ngobeni.

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