Coalitions to run large number of hung councils
The troubled Emfuleni municipality has been one of the municipalities left under an ANC-led minority government after the party elected its mayoral candidate Sipho Radebe and speaker Sibongile Soxuza yesterday.
This comes as the ANC failed to win with a clear majority in the municipality during the recent local government elections when it was pushed to below 50% of the votes in many municipalities across the country.
Yesterday, Emfuleni and many other hung councils held their first meetings where they began electing their municipal political leadership including speakers and chief whips.
Radebe was elected as the new mayor, while Soxuza was elected the new speaker of council.
Emfuleni is one the most dysfunctional municipalities in the country, riddled with mismanagement and service delivery collapse spanning years. This resulted in the council being placed under administration and its shortcomings have been blamed for the ANC’s electoral losses.
Newly elected chief whip Bennett Jantjie called on all parties to work together to help overcome the services delivery crisis in the area, which resulted in sewage spilling onto the streets and into people’s homes due to dilapidated infrastructure.
“We were all campaigning, persuading the electorate to vote for our political parties. The most common message we were saying centred on the provision of water to households, access to proper sanitation and enhanced urban management… if we are to make this a better era, we must put aside our differences and work together,” Jantjie said.
The ANC will now have to pin its hopes on the PAC and some extra backing from the opposition benches to pass budgets and adopt the integrated development plan as this requires a majority to go through.
Of the 90 seats in the municipal council, the ANC controls 38, the DA 24 while the EFF controls 14 seats.
The ANC will need support from three more seats in order to successfully run the municipality, and the PAC, which has two seats has indicated that it was still considering advances by the governing party over a working relationship.
PAC provincial chairperson Tsietsi Molebatse said the party had not yet received feedback from its structures on the request of a partnership by the ANC.
Molebatse said PAC councillors, including in Emfuleni, had no right to back the ANC or any other party.
“They do not have a mandate, and they are not entitled to use their discretion. They are not there at their own behest. They must abstain until there is a position from the party.” he said.
In Lekwa, another municipality plagued by dysfunction in Mpumalanga, the ANC was dealt a blow after it was dislodged from power, with the Lekwa Community Forum (LCF) taking over the mayoral post and speaker of council with the help of the EFF and other opposition parties.
The ANC had only retained 13 of the 30 seats, resulting in it being pushed out of power in the small municipality, where it had for years been accused of presiding over a service delivery collapse.
LCF chairperson and newly elected mayor Delani Thabethe said he had been surprised that a forum had taken over the reins of the municipality despite contesting for the first time, adding that there was pressure to ensure that electricity, water and sanitation problems in the municipality were urgently reversed as the LCF was now in the hot seat.
“This is a cry and a call for better municipality. There will be no room for any celebration for our administration. What we were protesting about, now we have to implement,” he said.