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New Joburg mayor Mashaba to hit the ground running

Herman Mashaba says he’s ready to hit the ground running to change the lives of Johannesburg residents.

Newly elected Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba celebrates his victory.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Herman Mashaba has been elected as the new mayor of Johannesburg after city officials held their first council sitting following the local government elections.

He was elected mayor last night after receiving 144 votes, beating his predecessor Parks Tau who received 125 votes.

Mashaba says he's ready to hit the ground running to change the lives of residents in the city.

He says he expects to elect a mayoral committee that will work with him to advance the lives of Johannesburg residents as soon as today.

"So that we can hit the ground running, we don't have time on our side. Five years is not a long time, and we're sitting and facing a massive challenge ahead of us."

He says with over 800,000 of the city's residents unemployed, his priority will be to equip the private sector to create jobs.

"Our government needs to play a role, not to be the employer but to create an enabling environment for the private sector to employ our people, particularly small businesses. Small business men and women out there, you're going to be my biggest friends."

He says Johannesburg residents must expect change.

CORRUPTION IS OUR NO.1 ENEMY

Mashaba says as of last night, corruption has been declared public enemy number one. The DA secured the roles of council speaker, chief whip and executive mayor with the backing of the EFF.

"As of this evening corruption is declared public enemy number one in this city."

EFF supporters and members celebrated with the DA as the announcement was made.

Mashaba says the hard work would start now.

"And we're sitting and facing a massive challenge ahead of us. Speed is of the essence."

It was a long day filled with disruptions and twists and turns. Mashaba gave a brief acceptance speech but promised an inaugural speech at the next sitting.

After the announcement, Mashaba asked to postpone his acceptance speech in memory of the African National Congress (ANC) councillor who passed on there earlier in the day.

He did, however, take the opportunity to thank the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leadership saying: "Thank you very much for what you've done for this country."

Mashaba says the DA aims to create an environment that empowers entrepreneurs.

The ANC confirmed earlier that its councillor, who collapsed during the city's council meeting, had died.

Earlier in the evening, paramedics were seen rushing into City Hall with a stretcher to attend to the councillor.

It has been confirmed that the councillor was ill.

LONG WAIT

Voting for Johannesburg's speaker was halted when some councillors complained that EFF members showed their ballots to party agents before depositing them into boxes.

Voting for a speaker was stopped several times, while the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) investigated concerns raised around the secret voting process.

Constance Bapela from the ANC and Vasco Da Gama from the DA both accepted nominations for the position.

Earlier, the DA raised concerns about the outcome of the vote amid allegations of bribery against ANC Housing MMC Dan Bovu.

Bovu has since responded to the claims against him, describing them as false, malicious and defamatory.

The EFF has laid criminal charges against Bovu, claiming he attempted to bribe EFF councillors to vote in favour of the ANC during the council meeting.

Through his lawyers, Bovu called on the red berets to provide proof of their claims or face legal action.

The elections have seen the ANC losing outright control of five major metros including three in Gauteng.

Last week, the governing party lost the hotly-contested Nelson Mandela Bay to the DA, when Athol Trollip was installed as the mayor.

Nationally, the ANC had gained 53 percent of the vote, down from 62 percent five years ago.

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