After eight months of squabbles and court battles, the DA is back in charge in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality after its councillor was elected the new executive mayor on Friday.
Randall Williams was voted in by 97 of the 123 councillors.
In his first speech, Williams expressed his gratitude to the DA and its faith in him and promised to enhance service delivery in the embattled city. He said he would pick highly skilled councillors to serve in the mayoral committee to ensure that the situation in Tshwane improves.
“I will also prioritise speed and responsiveness, especially during the time of Covid-19 we need to instil agility in how we make decisions. I will not allow delays in service delivery,” he said.
When Tshwane council speaker Katlego Mathebe opened the floor for nominations, the EFF was the first to nominate its caucus leader Mo’ Africa Mabogwana for the post. All 25 of its caucus members voted for him.
The DA then nominated Williams who had been earmarked for the position when former mayor Stevens Mokgalapa resigned early this year. However, the ANC shocked the entire council when it refused to put forward a candidate. The governing party’s Tshwane caucus leader was called several times before Kgosi Maepa revealed that they would not nominate a candidate.
“The ANC chooses to abstain from nominating a candidate,” he said.
The seemingly perturbed Maepa could be heard telling members of his caucus not to vote for any of the candidates.
This did not, however, affect the voting process as the council had enough votes to form a quorum with the DA’s 93 votes, the EFF’s 25 votes, the Freedom Front Plus four. The African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People and Pan Africanist Congress have one vote each.
The new mayor’s election follows a scathing ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal this week which hammered the Gauteng provincial government executive. In the judgment, the SCA stated that the steps taken to place the city under administration were an “infringement of peremptory provisions of the Constitution”.
“DA had made out a proper case under section 18(3) of the [Local Government] Act [of 2000] – the running of the city of Tshwane by an unelected administrator is the very antithesis of democratic and accountable government for local communities, enshrined in section 18 (3) of the superior Courts Act 10 of 2013,” the judgment read.
The ruling ensures that Tshwane councillors who were elected during the local government election in 2016, can resume their duties after the eight-month stalemate.
The Gauteng cooperative governance and traditional affairs, which was at the forefront of this battle, has been mum since the ruling was made.