With the local government elections done and dusted, the winds of change unleashed by the polls are still being felt within the governing African National Congress (ANC). Although less is known about what happened to the party’s mayoral candidates after the opposition booted them out of the urban metropolitans they once led.
After the elections, it would seem being stripped of the prized mayoral chain hasn’t been easy for some past mayors. While others have accepted their changed positions, some have set their sights on continuing their studies.
But what remains clear is the renewed confidence of the opposition parties after shedding the ANC’s electoral support by 8%, particularly to the once unlikely bedfellows the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
So what happened to the former mayors?
- Kgosientso Ramokgopa
In Tshwane, Kgosientso Ramokgopa has taken the role of opposition leader, as he continues to lead his party as regional chairperson. Despite the ANC national leadership earlier in August attempting to neutralise intense factional battles between him and his deputy, Mapiti Matsena, by putting forward Thoko Didiza as a compromise candidate, no one really won that battle, with the DA’s Solly Msimanga now running the city after clinching a deal with the EFF.
Apparently, Ramokgopa is also working on completing his PhD thesis.
Meanwhile, National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete’s plans to find Didiza’s replacement were thwarted after the ANC failed to garner a majority in Tshwane. Didiza remains in her current post as house chairperson.
- Parks Tau
In the city of gold, Johannesburg, former mayor Parks Tau has handed over the reins to businessman and Black Like Me founder Herman Mashaba. It’s been reported this week that Tau is well into a new position as chairperson of the SA Local Government Association (Salga) after the ANC’s top decision-making structure, the NEC, recommended him for nomination .
His party has heaped praise on him, saying his appointment showed confidence in his leadership following his five-year term as Joburg mayor.
He has also been recently appointed to serve on the advisory board of a global research organisation, focusing on the environment and development, the World Resources Institute (WRI). He might also land a new job following his nomination to stand for the presidency of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)‚ in Bogota‚ Columbia, this month.
- Mondli Gungubele
Former Ekurhuleni metro mayor Mondli Gungubele seems to have humbly made way for Mzwandile Masina to take over from him. The former deputy trade and industry minister has stepped up efforts for the ANC to hold on to the only metro it controls in Gauteng. Masina has hit the ground running, handing out title deeds to residents, establishing an open-door policy to interact with residents and visiting communities.
Ekurhuleni, like the cities of Tshwane and Johannesburg, was one of the hung municipalities. The ANC formed a coalition with the African Independent Congress (AIC) and another three parties to retain the municipality.
Gungubele was sworn in as a member of parliament on Tuesday and was immediately deployed to the national legislature’s committee on communications.
- Danny Jordaan
After much speculation about whether soccer boss Danny Jordaan would remain the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro’s official opposition leader, on Monday he officially resigned as a councillor. He had been absent from council meetings and ANC activities in the bay for weeks, according to media reports.
Jordaan was deployed by President Zuma in May last year to turn around the municipality after the regional executive committee of the ANC was disbanded for infighting. However, it emerged this week that Jordaan had been “redeployed” to focus on the 2019 general elections.
- James Nxumalo
The ANC might not have lost the City of eThekwini to the opposition, but its former mayor, James Nxumalo, remains defiant that he won’t be shifted to the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature to serve as an MPL. Nxumalo, an SA Communist Party member, has cited his study commitments for turning down the new post after the ANC booted him out and brought in Zandile Gumede.
Gumede defeated him as the chairperson of the eThekwini region in December last year. It is believed Nxumalo was at the centre of skirmishes between the ANC and SACP.