Heads or tails: R1 coin toss ensures DA councillor elected mayor in Limpopo

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  • Following four attempts to elect a mayor, the Modimolle-Mookgophong local municipality in Limpopo has elected a mayor after a coin toss.
  • The ANC has 14 seats in the council, while opposition political parties have a combined 14 seats.
  • Marlene van Staden said she was shocked her re-election was decided through a coin toss. 

A R1 coin toss was the final deciding factor that saw the re-election of DA councillor Marlene van Staden as the mayor of Modimolle-Mookgophong local municipality in Limpopo. 

Modimolle-Mookgophong's councillors had failed with three previous attempts to elect a mayor.

There is no majority government following the municipal elections. 

The ANC has 14 seats in the council, while opposition political parties, including the DA, have a combined 14 seats. 

The previous council sitting was able to elect a speaker in ANC councillor Sinah Langa. 

Other sittings had collapsed, allegedly due to ANC councillors not attending, while arguments disrupted another. 

The R1 coin toss was decided to break the impasse and find a mayor for the small, financially struggling municipality.

Van Staden faced opposition from ANC councillor Aaron Sebolayi.

The DA took over governing the municipality in 2016, and Van Staden was elected mayor. 

READ | DA accuses Limpopo government of 'hiding' forensic report into 539 suspicious bank transfers

Van Staden told News24 she was shocked that her re-election was decided through a coin toss. 

"I cannot believe that something like that could happen. It is the law when there is no clear choice. The law says if you have a tie, you must call another meeting, and you must vote again and do a 'lot'," she said. 

A "lot" is provided for in the Municipal Structures Act under Schedule 3.

The Act stated: "If at the further meeting held only two candidates are nominated, or if only two candidates remain after an elimination procedure has been applied, and those two candidates receive the same number of votes, the person presiding at such meeting must determine by lot who of the two candidates will hold the office for which the election has taken place."

In an attempt to break the stalemate, Van Staden said any other measures could have been used, but all political parties agreed to a coin toss. 

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