The city’s deadline to elect a new executive mayor is fast approaching, and a new candidate has still not been elected.

The City of Johannesburg is still without an executive mayor following the council’s failure to elect a new mayor at its council meeting on May 2, 2023.

DA Johannesburg caucus leader Mpho Phalatse being surrounded by other DA councillors ahead of expected voting at the city council on May 2, 2023. Photo: Seth Thorne

Council speaker Colleen Makhubele of Cope adjourned the meeting at the Johannesburg city council in Braamfontein in the early hours of the evening, saying, “clearly we [council] are not ready to elect a new mayor today”. This was contrary to an assurance made at the beginning of the sitting that a new mayor would be elected.

The resignation of mayor Thapelo Amad of Al Jama-ah last week left the city without a mayor at its helm, and now the city inches ever closer to being put under administration as seven of the 14 days needed to find a replacement have lapsed.

Voting proceedings were disrupted a total of five times throughout the day – all for caucus breaks as spars amongst parties regarding preferred mayoral candidates continued on both sides of the aisle.

The African National Congress (ANC) led coalition is reportedly divided between nominating four separate candidates – all from different parties. Similarly, parties aligned to the “moonshot pact” failed to come to an agreement, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) wanting to field their own candidate whilst their partners opted for another. The DA has also allegedly closed the door on negotiations with the Patriotic Alliance – a crucial vote in the city’s council.

Makhubele hoped that the granting of a three-hour break would allow parties to resolve issues regarding nominations and allow for the continuation of the meeting without interruptions.

Upon return from the long break, ANC councilors were notably missing. This saw yet another adjournment. When council reconvened at around 17:30pm, Al Jama-ah requested another caucus break, to the loud dismay of opposition parties. In response, Makhubele adjourned the election to the next council sitting on Friday, May 5.

ActionSA chairperson Michael Beaumont described the adjournment as a “total disgrace”, arguing that the ANC and EFF “cannot even elect a mayor, let alone focus on service delivery”. Beaumont also uttered his discontent with the DA, saying that it is difficult to negotiate with partners who have “broken coalition agreements on two occasions” and “do not come to the table”.

Gauteng premier and ANC provincial chairperson Panyaza Lesufi made a brief appearance in the gallery ahead of the expected voting before 18:00pm, however left hastily after the adjournment without giving comment.

ActionSA chairperson Michael Beaumont discussing his views on the adjournment of council on May 2, 2023. Photo: Seth Thorne

FEATURED IMAGE: Gauteng Premier and ANC provincial chairperson Panyaza Lesufi (left) left seemingly upset about the adjournment of Johannesburg city council on May 2, 2023. Photo: Seth Thorne