A view of the City of Tshwane, from Freedom Park. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
A view of the City of Tshwane, from Freedom Park. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The DA has pruned to four the number of candidates for the Tshwane mayoral post from 11 applications, said Mike Moriarty, the party’s Gauteng chair. 

The mayor’s seat became vacant after Solly Msimanga resigned a week ago. He is expected to lead the DA’s provincial campaign in the coming general  elections.

Moriarty said Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe, member of the mayoral  committee (MMC) for finance Mare-Lise Fourie, MMC for economic development and spatial planning Randall Williams and MP Stevens Mokgalapa were shortlisted. 

However, the list could increase during the week, as an appeal process remains open  for those who did not make the shortlist. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by the party’s selection panel on Friday.

It will not be plain sailing for the winning candidate, as the party and its governing coalition  in the metro still need the support of kingmakers, the EFF.

Both the DA and the ANC need the EFF’s support to win.

EFF leader Julius Malema was unambiguous at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Wednesday. He said his party did not accept Msimanga’s reasons for resigning, and that the EFF would closely monitor the developments in the metro before it announces its course of action. Malema, however, said the EFF would not bring the ANC back into power.

It is understood that the EFF’s preferred candidate was Mandla Nkomo, MMC for housing and human settlement development services. Nkomo did however not make it onto the shortlist.

In 2016 the DA formed an official coalition, but still needed the EFF’s votes to have its mayoral candidate elected. It is therefore not a given that the DA will still have its mayor in place to govern Tshwane with a DA-led coalition.

If the party does not succeed in getting the EFF on board, Tshwane could become the second metro the DA loses since the local government elections in 2016 after former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip was ousted through a motion of no confidence in 2018.

Moriarty said they had held discussions with the   EFF and the party’s coalition partners.  But the real conversation will only take place after the candidate has been selected.

Moriarty did not think the situation would escalate to such a  point that the council would have to be dissolved and new elections called. He said there would be a new DA mayor elected in February.