Joburg DA to approach Gauteng govt to force council sitting to elect new mayor

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Leah Knott has told Eyewitness News that while the party had been sympathetic following Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo’s death due to COVID-19 complications last month, it was simply taking too long to select a mayoral candidate.

The Johannesburg council chambers. Picture: @GautengANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Johannesburg City Council has decided to approach the provincial government in a bid to force a sitting to elect the late Mayor Geoff Makhubo’s replacement.

Caucus leader Leah Knott has told Eyewitness News that while the party had been sympathetic following Makhubo’s death due to COVID-19 complications last month, it was simply taking too long to select a mayoral candidate.

READ MORE Joburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo passes away due to COVID-19

Knott has raised concerns over the metro, which is the country’s economic hub, being leaderless given that its Cabinet was also dissolved following Makhubo’s death.

She also pointed out that in 2019, when Herman Mashaba, a DA mayor, resigned, the African National Congress (ANC) pushed for the election of the new mayor within a week. The ANC won back control of the metro during that period.

Knott’s comments come as the ANC in Joburg finally settled on three names over the weekend, which now needs its national executive committee’s stamp of approval in order to be fielded as mayoral candidates.

While tragic circumstances led to the City of Joburg being without a mayor, the DA said that ANC factional considerations were taking advantage of the Structures Act, which dictated that the post should be filled when necessary. This was different from picking a mayor after council had been elected where there were set deadlines.

The DA caucus leader said that this was a huge blow and she said that the party had decided to reach out to Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile over the delay.

“The stage that we're currently doing is now meeting provinces to get the intervention from the MEC,” she said.

The late mayor’s finance MMC, Jolidee Matongo, is the region’s preferred candidate, but his candidacy still needs the approval of the party’s provincial and national executive committees.

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