ANC councillor Mxolisi Siyonzana has been elected as the new executive mayor of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality.
Siyonzana, a known ally of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, was elected during a special council seating on Monday morning.
There were 88 councillors present in council during the vote, and 87 of them voted.
Siyonzana received 57 votes while the DA’s Mangaung caucus leader, Hardie Viviers, received 25 votes. There were five spoiled ballots.
During his address to council after his election, Siyonzana said he was humbled by his election and thanked the ANC for nominating him for the top job.
Siyonzana said the people of Mangaung “acknowledge their anomalous position and demand immediate change”.
“A change that is community-based and community-led allowing every citizen to have a say in determining the future of our city,” he said.
Earlier, councillors also voted for a new council speaker after Siyonzana stepped down from the position last week. ANC councillor Mapaseka Nkoane was elected to the post.
The Mangaung metro has been without a permanent mayor for a year now, after the removal of corruption-accused former mayor Olly Mlamleli. She was booted out in August last year through a motion of no confidence that was supported by ANC councillors.
The Bloemfontein-based municipality has been under administration since December 2019 after its failure to provide basic services to residents due to its financial challenges.
‘I cannot do all this alone’
Siyonzana admitted that he was facing a difficult task ahead as the metro’s new mayor and called for unity among councillors across the political spectrum.
He said poor governance and lack of confidence in the leadership of the metro needed to be addressed urgently.
“I cannot do all this alone, I need you. This time around when we dominate the headlines again, let it be because we would have shifted our position to stability having escaped from a fiscal cliff and no longer under section 139 of the Constitution.
“Let it be because we will be on the right path towards building a capable and developmental city. This requires unity among all agents of developmental change,” Siyonzana said.
The newly elected mayor said he would soon announce members of his mayoral committee to provide sound leadership.
“And during the pronouncement, this committee will also outline our plans with regard to overcoming the current financial crisis and poor service delivery challenges,” he said.