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The First Muslim to Helm South Africa’s Biggest Metropolis

A councillor from a small Muslim party has been elected mayor of Johannesburg after months of political manoeuvring and legal battles for control of the country’s business hub. Thapelo Amad, of the Al Jama-ah party, was voted in by the city council to replace mayor Mpho Phalatse, a member of South Africa’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). Amad, 41, said he was “humbled” and “overwhelmed” at being the first Muslim to helm the country’s biggest metropolis. “It marks history in South Africa,” he told the council after the vote. He promised to make the fight against corruption his top priority. Phalatse became the first Black woman to lead South Africa’s main economic hub in 2021, after the ANC lost local elections in its worst showing at the ballot since the advent of democracy in 1994.