Solly Msimanga. Picture: SUPPLIED
Solly Msimanga. Picture: SUPPLIED

The DA’s process to choose a new mayoral candidate to lead the City of Tshwane moves up a notch this week after current mayor Solly Msimanga announced his resignation on Friday.

Msimanga gave notice that he will vacate the mayoral post in the next two weeks, saying he wants to devote more time and resources to his quest to help his party win Gauteng in the coming general elections.

He is the DA’s candidate for premier of the province.

DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the process of applying for the position was opened on Friday and would close on Tuesday.

It is understood current speaker Katlego Mathebe is tipped to be a possible candidate.

The DA, however, puts its public representatives through an interview process before a decision is taken.

Malatsi said shortlisting and screening would be followed by the writing of assignments and being interviewed by a selection panel.

Winning candidate's challenge

The winning candidate will have to appease not only a divided caucus and the coalition partners, but must have the  support of the EFF, which acts as kingmaker in the metro and without whose vote the DA would not have the numbers to elect a new mayor.

The metro is governed by a minority coalition government that needs either the support of the EFF or the ANC to pass items in council, including the  election of the mayor and speaker.

On the EFF, Msimanga said on Friday he is “hopeful in particular that the EFF will support our mayoral candidate, as they face a clear choice — continue to root out corruption and improve service provision, or hand power back to the corrupt ANC”.

The DA is hoping to take over the province from the governing ANC. 

In an announcement on Friday in Johannesburg, Msimanga said he was asked by the DA’s federal executive committee to resign, given the time and resources required by the campaign.

He has had a turbulent term as mayor, with the fight between him and city manager Moeketsi Mosola taking centre stage.  Msimanga unsuccessfully tried to have Mosola suspended pending an investigation into procurement irregularities, as well as multiple allegations of misconduct. The second attempt to suspend him on allegations of misconduct has been deferred to the council meeting later in January.

Federal executive chairperson James Selfe said on Sunday his party is convinced “the ANC’s dismal record of empty promises, endemic fraud and failed delivery” would win the DA the province at the forthcoming elections.

“We fully back and are deeply appreciative of Solly Msimanga’s commitment to the people of Gauteng, which was so evidenced by the personal sacrifice he has made in announcing his resignation as the mayor of Tshwane. Solly is very clear — both Tshwane and the City of Johannesburg can only be fully turned around if the DA governs the entire province,” Selfe said.

“Msimanga will now be freed up to focus his full energy on bringing change to the province and will prioritise fighting corruption, bringing about an honest and professional police service, fighting the scourge of drug abuse, providing fair access to jobs and ensuring that we never have a repeat of the deep injustice that was the Life Esidimeni tragic deaths,” Selfe said.