In a statement on Thursday, former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba took the opportunity to rub some salt into the wound of his former party, the DA, which lost control of the city to a new ANC-led coalition headed by the new mayor Geoff Makhubo.
Mashaba said that the city had been “taken back by the corrupt ANC with the help of some members of the previous multi-party coalition government, as well as some DA councillors”.
The DA got no support from any of its previous coalition partners, while the EFF’s 30 councillors voted for their candidate, Musa Novela.
He said he shared the “anger of the 5 million residents of Johannesburg” that the work of turning around the city had allegedly been destroyed by the election of Makhubo.
“The fact that Makhubo was elected with the help of some members of the previous multi-party coalition government, together with a number of DA councillors, demonstrates everything that is wrong with our political system. The considerations were all about personal and political benefit, and not about the residents of Johannesburg.”
Mashaba referenced last year’s amaBhungane exposé that reported how Makhubo and Parks Tau – the former mayor of Johannesburg – had allegedly orchestrated a windfall of at least R30 million for Makhubo by allowing him to unduly act as a broker for the Gupta-linked Regiments Fund Managers, allegedly giving the fund managers unfettered access to lucrative deals within the city.
“More recently, the City has uncovered how another Gupta-linked company associated with Regiments, Cedar Park Properties 39 Pty Ltd (Cedar Park), took transfer of the land on which the Sandton Gautrain Station is situated, effectively for free,” added Mashaba, something he had continued to fight during his more than three-year tenure.
“The fact that some DA councillors elected to vote for Makhubo over their own candidate demonstrates why I had to leave the DA. The DA of today is clearly not the DA that I joined – not when they support an allegedly corrupt person.
“That my former coalition partners have abandoned the multi-party government speaks clearly to the fact that I am not alone in my view. They did not see a prospect of working with the DA in a coalition that is open, engages with different solutions to our complex problems, and is willing to set aside differences in the interests of the residents.”
He said that despite his sadness at the outcome, he felt he had done the right thing by resigning.
After the 2019 election results came in, and the DA saw some drop in support, a review report authored by former DA leader Tony Leon, Capitec CEO Michiel le Roux and political strategist Ryan Coetzee had been highly critical of the DA’s relationship with the EFF in Johannesburg and Tshwane, another metro they are now likely to lose.
Mashaba was known to have a good working relationship with the EFF in the city.
The DA adopted the recommendations of this highly contested report. Along with the return of Helen Zille as the party’s federal executive chairperson, this has been understood to be among the reasons Mashaba quit.
“While I am deeply saddened and angered for the residents of Johannesburg, it is clear for everyone to see that the DA was ready to push me out of government in Johannesburg. As I said in my resignation speech, ‘It is not my nature to hang around to be pushed.’ Those DA councillors who voted for Geoff Makhubo were clearly lined up to vote for the ANC’s motions of no confidence against our government,” added Mashaba.
“As a result, instead of having a mayor who fights corruption, Johannesburg will now have a mayor who is allegedly corrupt.”
He hinted that he might launch a party of his own, possibly with former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, with whom he has shared a warm relationship.
“This is why I cannot give up on the project to save Johannesburg and South Africa. The people of South Africa need a solution that places our residents at the centre, and not the self-interest displayed in council yesterday.”