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ANC Promises Stability In Ekurhuleni Following Election Of New Mayor

The African National Congress (ANC) says stability and order has been restored in Ekurhuleni following the election of a new mayor.

The ANC’s Doctor Xhakaza was elected unopposed at an extraordinary council sitting in the east of Johannesburg on Thursday.

His election into office comes two weeks after Sivuyile Ngodwana was sent packing by unhappy councillors who passed a vote of no-confidence against him.

Ngodwana was accused of running the office to the ground.

The ANC said it took two weeks of tough negotiations and horse-trading to reach an amicable agreement between political parties in Ekurhuleni to find a mayor.

ANC provincial chairperson Panyaza Lesufi said talks were so tense that at some point they collapsed, before Xhakaza eventually came out tops.

The ANC – which has the most seats in council believes the majority party should lead the metro.

But Lesufi said talks weren’t limited to the parties with the biggest command, labelling the consultative process as inclusive.

“What persuaded all of us is that we have to put the interests of the municipalities at the centre of our decisions. It must not be a party-political interests or point scoring and it’s not an easy thing.”

While Lesufi says the the provincial structure would keep a close eye on Ekurhuleni, he vowed not to meddle in the city’s affairs.

FUTURE OF COALITIONS

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s decision to support the ANC’s move to put Xhakaza into office follows speculation about the future of the coalitions in Ekurhuleni.

Fractures appeared between the two parties in March when they clashed during two council meetings, allegedly over who should be mayor.

While EFF caucus leader in Ekurhuleni, Nkululeko Dunga admits there are tensions, he said that hasn’t come in the way of the parties working together.

“The ANC has more of a federal approach to decision-making where national government will take the decisions to be done by region and sometimes branch level – whereas in the EFF we subscribe to democratic centralism where the centre must always hold.

“So, on those differences, there will always be political differences because of the different orientations we come from but what we appreciate is the continuous need to constantly sit down and engage one another and find solution to the problems that might arise from time to time.”

RESHUFFLE IMMINENT

Newly-elected Xhakaza said a reshuffle in the mayoral committee was imminent, as city officials try to restore stability.

Xhakaza is set to begin consultations on who he wants on his team.

It’s unclear at this stage when he will announce the changes but he said he doesn’t expect any disruptions to service delivery.

“What we want to assure out people now is that the City of Ekurhuleni is on track, there’s a collective of leadership that wants to take the issues of government forward.

“Our pre-occupation is how do you unite and build a team out of all the political parties in council but you’ll agree with me that if we were able to pull it together in terms of the election of a mayor then it should be possible with all the other issues.”