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By Martin Williams

Councillor at City


Joburg’s political future: GLU or dissolution?

The white-tailed GNU is described as a bizarre antelope whose appearance is matched by its freaky behaviour. We have had enough of bizarre, freaky local government.


Will post-election arrangements at national government level be replicated in Johannesburg? Will the government of national unity (GNU) be copied in a new Joburg government of local unity (GLU)?

Not necessarily.

Mistakenly, some councillors have been congratulated on re-election, although we were not re-elected. We were not standing for election. The five-year cycles of the different elections do not coincide.

Local government elections are due in 2026.

Yet somehow those who think we are newly in charge after 29 May expect us miraculously to fix potholes, eliminate power and water outages and make displaced people vanish.

In reality, we are stuck with the same mayor and speaker from minuscule parties, dancing to mixed tunes from the ANC and EFF, while the Patriotic Alliance (PA) looks after its constituents.

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Last week, EFF leader Julius Malema threatened to remove his MMCs (members of mayoral committees) where they are governing with the ANC. He was retaliating because the ANC mayor of Ekurhuleni dismissed that metro’s EFF finance MMC.

The implication for Joburg is that if EFF MMCs are withdrawn, our GLU will become unglued. Who would take over? Would the DA join the ANC in a Joburg GLU, or would council be dissolved?

For the past year, the DA has been calling for the dissolution of council. All 270 councillors would lose their positions. Fresh elections would be held.

There are mixed signals from national level about Joburg’s way forward.

On Saturday, the ANC Gauteng provincial secretary reportedly “dispelled the notion” that metros were about to be rocked by the withdrawal of EFF MMCs. But this was contradicted by Sunday newspaper reports that there would indeed be a metro shake-up.

The Sunday Times said the GNU relationship between the ANC, DA and IFP would be mirrored in metros where there is no clear winner. Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda of Al-Jamah would reportedly be removed.

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Al-Jamah holds three of the 270 Joburg council seats. Gwamanda’s predecessor, Thapelo Amad, was also from this minuscule party. Both have been dreadful. Joburg deserves better and perhaps we are on the cusp of a new era.

What could a new GLU look like? Numerically, if the ANC (90 seats) and the DA (71) collaborated on all important council resolutions, they would not need support from any other parties, including ActionSA (44) and the EFF (29). And certainly not the PA (9), IFP (7), Al-Jamah or any tiny parties.

Much depends on how inclusive a Joburg GLU needs to be. To allocate positions of mayor, MMC, speaker, chair of chairs, or chief whip to small parties would be unwise, given Joburg’s recent history.

An entry threshold of 10% for this level could include ActionSA and the EFF, even if both are not in the national government of unity.

In the animal kingdom, the white-tailed gnu is described as a bizarre antelope whose appearance is matched by its freaky behaviour. We have had enough of bizarre, freaky local government.

Something more dependable would be better for Joburg. A GLU to stick till 2026. Please.

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