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Joburg mayor Phalatse announces mayoral committee

Siviwe Feketha Political reporter
Newly elected Johannesburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse.
Newly elected Johannesburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse.
Image: Alaister Russell

Johannesburg executive mayor Mpho Phalatse has finally unveiled new members of her mayoral committee (MMCs) after protracted negotiations between the DA and smaller parties that helped put her in power. 

Phalatse said putting together the team of 10 MMCs had been a difficult task as the DA tried to set up a majority coalition government that would be less vulnerable to collapse and able to stably govern the country's economic hub.

“We would have loved to rush to announce 10 MMCs, but given the nature of the minority government that we had, we really saw it prudent that we should give ourselves the time that we needed to talk to other parties and see if it cannot stabilise this government by having a minority government turned into a majority coalition,” Phalatse said.

Phalatse announced that 10 political parties with a total of 136 seats in the 270-seat council had finally agreed to join forces with the DA after weeks of horse trading and difficult negotiations.

“It is going to take a lot of leadership skills on my end to bring the team together, do a lot of relationship and team building on an ongoing basis over the next five years to ensure that this government stands and takes the city forward,” she said.

While ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba did not feature among the unveiled MMCs as expected, his party secured three posts in the executive.

The new members of the mayoral committee are:

Finance — Julie Suddaby from the DA

Group corporate and shared services —  Leah Knott from the DA.

Transport — Funzela Ngobeni from ActionSA

Development planning — Belinda Echeozonjoku from the DA

Housing — Mlungisi Mabaso from the IFP

Economic development — Nkuli Mbundu from ActionSA

Health and social development — Franco de Lange from the FF Plus

Community development — Ronald Harris from the ACDP

Environment and infrastructure — Michael Sun from the DA

Public safety — David Tembe from the ActionSA

Ngobeni, a former DA greater Johannesburg regional chairman and current whip and national director of operations, had been an MMC for finance during Mashaba’s tenure as mayor from 2016 to 2019, while Sun had been the MMC for safety during the same period.

The IFP’s Mabaso had been in the post under both the previous DA and ANC-led coalitions.

Tembe was chief of the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) before he jumped ship and joined ActionSA after Mashaba’s departure.

None of the announced MMCs were present during the briefing, with Phalatse saying that the negotiating had continued until yesterday morning as political parties continued to bargain.

Some of the political parties that had not been included in the mayoral committee were set to be given positions as chairpersons of oversight committees in council.

Phalatse refused to speak on the specific smaller parties that had formally joined the coalition pact with the DA as the parties were scheduled to hold a joint briefing to outline their coalition agreements.

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