The DA was left with egg on its face as some of its members seemed to have jumped ship and voted with the ANC, as Geoff Makhubo was elected mayor of Johannesburg.
This was not the only embarrassment the party faced on Wednesday, as their cooperative governance partners also changed alliances and handed Johannesburg back to the ANC.
Although the votes were cast in a secret ballot, the sweetness of power turned sour for the DA once the numbers were read out.
For a party to win the majority in the council, they needed 137 votes, which equates to 50% plus one of valid votes cast.
Three candidates were up for the vacant mayoral position, the EFF’s Musa Novela (30 votes), the DA’s Funzela Ngobeni (101 votes) and Makhubo (137 votes).
With all 30 EFF members voting for Novela, it seems the EFF members remained loyal to the party.
All 120 ANC councillors in attendance voted for Makhubo, with it’s alliance partners making up the rest.
The DA, however, was left pinning its hopes on 102 councillors.
The other parties that voted were IFP, AIC, PA, Al-Jamah, FF+, ACDP, UDM and Cope.
However, the DA’s candidate Ngobeni only received 101 votes three short of what was expected, after a coalition with the ACDP and the FF+ which should have taken them to 104 votes.
Instead one DA member or, if the mini alliance toed the line, three DA members voted against Ngobeni.
No spoilt votes or abstentions were recorded at the council sitting after all 268 members in attendance voted.
“It was a closed ballot and we [the DA] accept that in a closed ballot anyone can do whatever,” said Mike Moriarty, the DA’s Gauteng chairperson.
He added that the party would not be going “on a witch hunt” to find out the identity of the members who sold out the party.
“They [the members who voted with the ANC] will have to live with the knowledge that they turned against the DA,” said Moriarty.
He also said the DA needed to take stock of some of the alliance partners that they had gone into coalition with in 2016, such as Cope and the IFP, and re-evaluate their standing with them.
The ANC was, however, left elated after reclaiming the country’s economic hub.
In a show of force, the ANC’s secretary general Ace Magashule, spokesperson Pule Mabe, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Gauteng Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile were all in attendance at the monumental council seating.
After the vote, Magashule credited the Johannesburg region and the Gauteng provincial government for working hand in hand to ensure the win.
“This win is testament to the region and provincial government working hand in hand,” said Magashule, who went on to say “this should be the start of the ANC making more inroads in the Johannesburg municipality.”
Mayor-elect, Makhubo, added that in a show of force the ANC will be tabling three motions of no confidence at the next council sitting.
The motions are against the speaker, chair of chairs and the chief whip.