Africa-Press – South-Africa. Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
The DA has lost the Nelson Mandela Bay metro to the ANC after a tight race to snatch the municipality.
ANC’s mayoral candidate Eugene Johnson pipped Nqaba Bhanga by one vote after the former got 60 votes and the latter 59.
Smaller parties which had agreed to support the DA last week, had another meeting until 3am this morning, where they decided to join forces with the ANC.
The smaller parties, comprising among others, the African Independent Congress, Defenders of the People, Abantu Integrity Movement, the UDM and Northern Alliance, who voted as a block said they had ditched the DA because it had failed to meet their demands.
The ANC had lost support during the November 1 elections, and in Nelson Mandela Bay it was neck and neck with the DA.
However, the ANC managed to secure the required majority to get the metro it lost control of in 2016 when a DA-led coalition wrested it from the ruling party.
But after a five-year tumultuous period of different mayors in the metro, the ANC has taken the metro back.
The council sitting was scheduled for last Thursday but before it sat Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance Xolile Nqatha warned that the gathering would be illegal because acting municipal manager Anele Qaba was not authorised to convene the sitting. Qaba then postponed the meeting to Monday.
The election of Johnson comes after the ANC’s top structure, the National Executive Committee, endorsed a list of candidates to serve as mayors in the metros and other councils.
The ANC not only failed to secure an outright majority in Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the November polls but it also failed to reach the required 50% majority to retain the Dr Beyers Naude and Ko-Kamma municipalities in the province.
ANC provincial chairperson in the Eastern Cape Oscar Mabuyane told the extended provincial executive committee meeting on Friday that they needed the right people with the right skills.
He also accused some of the parties of negotiating in bad faith during coalition talks.