On May 5, 2023 Al Jama-ah’s Kabelo Gwamanda was elected executive mayor of the country’s economic hub, Johannesburg by fellow councillors. The process for selecting the mayor was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, this infographic explores some of those twists and turns.
FEATURED: The executive mayor Kabelo Gwamanda reading his oath during the process of being sworn in. Photo: Seth Thorne
After nearly two weeks without one, Joburg has its fifth mayor in just 18 months.
Al Jama-ah’s Kabelo Gwamanda has been voted in as Johannesburg’s new executive mayor by councillors in a secret ballot at the City Council sitting on May 5, 2023.
Out of the 266 ballots cast Gwamanda received 139 votes, while the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Johannesburg caucus leader Mpho Phalatse got 68 votes and ActionSA’s Gauteng chairperson Funzi Ngobeni, got 59 votes.
This was the council’s fifth attempt at voting in a mayor since the resignation of Al Jama-ah’s Thapelo Amad on April 24. A sitting on Tuesday, May 3 was postponed due to squabbles amongst coalition partners.
Messy horse trading
Failed negotiations among those in the former ‘multi-party coalition,’ saw the DA unable to come to an agreement with ActionSA, IFP, VF+, ACDP, UIM and PA.
In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela DA Johannesburg caucus leader Mpho Phalatse said that the reason negotiations failed is because the DA could not come to terms with the proposition by the Patriotic Alliance (PA) to nominate Kenny Kunene as mayor. “[We] could not fathom how such could be allowed,” she said.
The PA, the swing vote in council, then put their weight behind Gwamanda, alongside the ANC, EFF, Al Jama-ah, AIC, AHC, ATM, Good, PAC, Cope and APC. In return, Kenny Kunene received an executive position and now has control over the city’s transport portfolio.
Gwamanda labels this coalition as “one of national unity” which will continue to “prioritize service delivery,” arguing that regime change in the city will not negatively impact service delivery.
Former mayor Thapelo Amad said that the election of his Al Jama-ah colleague is a good thing for the city, stating that “the city is in capable hands”.
ActionSA mayoral candidate Funzi Ngobeni says that his party is happy with the working relationship with the ACDP, IFP, UIM and VF+, however it is “unfortunate that we could not get DA on board.” He says that the aims of the partners now are to be “a constructive opposition”.
FEATURED: IEC officials alongside political party representatives counting the secret ballot votes at the Joburg City Council on May 5, 2023. Photo: Seth Thorne
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