Mashaba takes over the reigns as Joburg Mayor
From this evening corruption is declared public enemy number one in this city.”
With these words Democratic Alliance’s Cllr Herman Mashaba kicked off his five-year tenure as Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic hub.
This came shortly after he defeated the African National Congress’s mayoral candidate, Cllr Mpho Parks Tau, by 19 votes during the City’s inaugural council meeting at the Johannesburg City Hall on Monday night following the 2016 local government elections on August 3.
Cllr Mashaba received 144 votes to former Executive Mayor Tau’s 125. The gruelling 10-hour council session also saw DA’s Cllr Vasco Da Gama being elected as Speaker of Council and fellow DA member Cllr Kevin Wax as Chief Whip.
The elections were marred by the sudden death of newly sworn-in ANC councillor Nonhlanhla Mthembu. Cllr Mthembu, who had suddenly taken ill, collapsed and died as Speaker Da Gama opened nominations for the position of Executive Mayor.
In his acceptance speech, Executive Mayor Mashaba paid his condolences to the ANC and the family of the late councillor, adding that he would postpone delivering his inauguration speech in her honour. Mashaba, a well-known entrepreneur who founded the Black Like Me range of hair products, said his administration would bring change to Johannesburg.
“I feel truly honoured to be standing in front of you. It is my commitment and pledge to the residents of Joburg to bring change which will create jobs. Over 800 000 people are unemployed – a one-to-three ratio – and this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” he said.
“We need to create an enabling environment for investment and small businesses to thrive which, in turn, will result in employment. From this evening corruption is declared public enemy number one in this city.”
He also said in his short acceptance speech that his administration wanted to “bring dignity to the people of Zandspruit and Alexandra”.
He announced that he would name his mayoral committee in the coming days. Shortly after being elected Speaker of Council during proceedings presided over by City Manager Trevor Fowler, Cllr Da Gama said: “Thank you for extending your trust in me ... I pledge to be a Speaker who speaks less and listens more.”
Cllr Da Gama added that the Office of the Speaker would pay special attention to the safety of all citizens, especially women and children.
Gauteng ANC spokesman Nkenke Kekana described the death of Cllr Mthembu, 50 – who was affectionately known as “Black Diamond” and “Stompi” – as “a tragedy”.
He said Mthembu had served as councillor from 2011 to 2016 and had just been re-elected to serve another term. Kekana honoured Cllr Mthembu for her long-standing commitment to the service of her community. Prior to the voting Fowler said the outcomes “will be a fleeting victory in the aeons of time, with the real winner being democracy”.
“This is the first time since the dawn of our democracy that we in the City of Johannesburg have not had an overwhelming majority elected, which created the need for negotiations,” he said.