DA clinches mayoral role in Free State municipality, but admits there will be challenges ahead

3rd December 2021 By: News24Wire

 DA clinches mayoral role in Free State municipality, but admits there will be challenges ahead

In continuing a trend seen in other municipalities, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has won the mayoral seat in the Metsimaholo local municipality in the Free State. 

DA councillor Jeff Zwane was elected unopposed at a council sitting on Friday. 

The African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) did not put up a candidate for the position. 

The mayoral role was briefly held by EFF councillor Selloane Motjeane, who was elected via the help of ANC councillors. 

She was, however, asked to resign by the EFF's national leadership. 

EFF leader Julius Malema said the party could not accept a victory sponsored by the ANC. 

Metsimaholo now has an ANC speaker, Lucas Fischer, who was elected shortly after the municipal elections. 

The struggling municipality looks set to be run under a coalition government as no party has a majority. 

The ANC has 16 seats in the 46-member council, while the EFF and DA have 12 seats each.

A similar scenario played out in 2016 when the ANC, South African Communist Party and smaller political parties managed to cobble together a government.

The municipality was placed under administration in 2020 after it failed to pass a budget because of disagreements among parties. 

The DA's chief whip in the Metsimaholo council, Thulani Mbana, said the party was well aware of the challenges ahead because there was no coalition agreement in place.

He said the municipality faced various challenges, but was hopeful the parties would be able to work together. 

"For now, as the party, we will go back to the drawing board and use our governing principles to see how best we can use them to run Metsimaholo," Mbana told News24. 

The Free State municipality is troubled. News24 previously reported that a report to Parliament's select committee on cooperative governance showed vacant positions in the municipality, political interference and little oversight.