David Makhura vows to intervene in the Joburg stalemate

Gauteng premier David Makhura is unhappy about the power void in the City of Johannesburg. / ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Gauteng premier David Makhura is unhappy about the power void in the City of Johannesburg. / ANTONIO MUCHAVE

There is immense pressure for the City of Johannesburg to elect a new mayor today after Gauteng premier David Makhura warned he will not hesitate to intervene.

This comes as the EFF, a kingmaker in the council vote, is keeping its cards close to the chest ahead of the crucial mayoral vote today. Both the ANC and the DA went to bed yesterday not sure whether the EFF will be voting with them or not in a crunch vote that will determine Herman Mashaba's replacement after his resignation in October. His last day of work was last week and the city has been without a mayor since then.

The vote was postponed on technicalities by council speaker Vasco da Gama last week in a move that was seen as a delaying tactic to afford his party, the DA, ample time to negotiate with the EFF.

Makhura has now entered the fray, sending a stern warning to both Da Gama and the council that failure to elect a mayor would result in him taking action.

"I would like to warn that should the City of Johannesburg fail to elect a mayor on Wednesday, 4 December 2019, I will give them seven days to do so, failing which the provincial government will intervene decisively," he said yesterday.

"Currently, there is no governance in the City of Johannesburg following the postponement of the council sitting."

Last week all three parties announced they were vying for the position after fielding their own mayoral candidates. The ANC, which now stands a better chance of governing the metro following the collapsed talks between DA and EFF, fielded its regional chair Geoff Makhubo while the EFF named Musa Novela. DA named Funzi Ngobeni as its candidate.

Sowetan has established that the move by Da Gama to postpone the council sitting to afford the DA an opportunity to engage the EFF further has not materialised as the EFF continued to refuse to take any calls from the DA. "The EFF is not talking to us, they are refusing. We tried to approach them and nothing has happened," said Ngobeni. "We are going in there tomorrow [today] not knowing what is going to happen. We are hoping that sanity will prevail on EFF and they will vote with us."

Sowetan understands that the EFF refused to engage with the DA after the democrats turned down its demand to give them Tshwane in exchange for their vote in Johannesburg and had approached the ANC with the same deal.

Without the EFF the DA does not have enough numbers to win the vote, while on the other hand, the ANC can easily win should the EFF not vote with the DA.

ANC mayoral candidate Makhubo said he was confident that they would come out of the council sitting today as the metro's governing party. "Well, we're pretty confident. The numbers are too tight and it can go either way but we think that they will tip our way," he said.

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