Looks like a two-horse race for new Tshwane mayor

THE contest for the City of Tshwane’s mayoral candidacy within the DA is likely to be a two-horse race between council Speaker Katlego Mathebe and party’s regional chairperson Abel Tau.

The pair yesterday spoke openly about their intention to participate in the party’s nomination process to select a mayoral candidate before next week’s council sitting.

The successful candidate will be eligible to participate in the election of a new mayor during a monthly council sitting and possibly replace Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga, who announced his resignation on Friday.

Msimanga resigned in order to focus on campaign as DA candidate for Gauteng premier.

At least 214 councillors will be afforded an opportunity to cast their secret ballots under the watch of the Electoral Commission of South Africa.

The EFF said it would support any mayoral candidate who would provide better services to Tshwane residents, while the regional ANC was still waiting for guidance from its provincial and national structures.

Mathebe confirmed she was among the candidates who had already thrown their hats in the ring. “Yes, I did apply. I have been in the City, working closely with the mayor, and for continuity I think I will be able to do the work,” she said.

Regarding her chances of making it as the party’s final nominee, she said: “I am not in charge of the selection process. It will be up to the leaders of the party to make up their minds”

When Msimanga announced his imminent resignation, he said he had not yet notified Mathebe in writing about his decision as required by the legislation.

She said: “I have not yet seen the letter of resignation. I believe I will see it before council sitting next week.”

She said voting of the new mayor would take place in line with Schedule 3 as enshrined in the legislation, requiring nominations for mayoral candidates to be made in writing. The nominated individuals would have to sign the nomination form as a sign of acceptance. In the event of more nominations, voting will be conducted until the person with the majority of votes is declared the new executive mayor, she added.

While Mathebe expressed optimism about her nomination, Tau was coy about his participation in the race.

By 3pm yesterday, he said he was still seriously considering submitting his nomination, hoping to beat the 8pm deadline. “I am seriously considering applying for it. This is because there are quite a number of people who had approached me to do so,” he said.

He added that “personally” he didn’t want to apply because he believed “there is a lot of work that needs to be done on the ground”.

“There were areas which were declared no-go zones, but we have managed to overcome that hurdle,” Tau said. According to him, a decision to turn down the invitation to apply might disappoint a lot of people, who had thrown their support behind him.

“It would be a disappointment to a lot of people for the chairperson of the region not to apply,” Tau said.

There were speculations that the MMC for Human Settlements, Mandla Nkomo, might also run for the mayoral candidacy.

Approached for comment, he said: “I am not interested in becoming the mayor. Before one can apply, he or she needs to consider the level of experience needed for the job. I have only been in politics for two years. I therefore can’t be ambitious and apply for the position.”

He said he was familiar with talks from people, who thought he would enter the succession race. “There have been a lot of speculations, but I am not interested. Again my family won’t support me to take such responsibilities,” Nkomo said.


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