JOHANNESBURG – As the Johannesburg City council prepares to hold its second sitting to elect a new mayor on Wednesday morning, the Gauteng government said it would intervene should the meeting fail to elect a mayor once again.
Last week, Speaker Vasco da Gama postponed the election to seek legal advice on what constituted a majority in the council.
Councillors were scheduled to elect Herman Mashaba’s replacement who resigned in October after citing strained relations with the Democratic Alliance.
Gauteng’s Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile said he wanted to see a new mayor in Johannesburg after the council meeting so that service delivery in the city wouldn’t be compromised. He said the implications of the delays in electing a new mayor were major.
Maile said since the city didn’t have a captain, its Cabinet members appointed by the former mayor also ceased to hold office and couldn’t execute their powers and functions.
The Gauteng government also warned that the Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs) were not entitled to the benefits and privileges associated with their offices, saying they should be suspended with immediate effect.
Da Gama responded by dismissing the claims that the MMCs were still enjoying the benefits.
Meanwhile, chief whips from various political parties will meet on Wednesday morning to discuss Da Gama’s legal opinion ahead of the election of a new mayor, and whether to accept it.
The African National Congress has put forward Geoff Makhubo’s name for the position while the Democratic Alliance has named Funzela Ngobeni as its candidate.
The Economic Freedom Fighters has nominated Musa Novela.
The speaker has now received the legal advice that the word majority means 50% plus one and must be calculated only on the valid votes cast at every round.
The council has a total of 270 seats. But one councillor has died.
Once that is cleared, the process to choose Mashaba’s replacement can get under way.