South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has lost control of Johannesburg, the country’s largest city and economic center.
Herman Mashaba from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has been elected as mayor by Johannesburg council.
The ANC had run Johannesburg since the fall of apartheid more than 20 years ago. It lost its council majority in local elections, although it is still the largest party.
It has also lost control of the capital Pretoria and Cape Town.
Of South Africa’s six biggest cities, the ANC only won an outright majority in Durban, seen as a stronghold for South African President Jacob Zuma.
On August 22, there was drama at the Johannesburg council meeting, which lasted 11 hours.
A scuffle broke out between opposition party members and electoral commission officials and an ANC councilor who was sworn in earlier in the day collapsed and died shortly after Herman Mashaba was elected.
The ANC had won 44.5% of the vote, more than the DA’s 38.4%. The left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 11% found itself in the position of kingmaker and refused to give its votes to the ANC.
Herman Mashaba, a 56-year-old businessman, has promised to reform Johannesburg administration.
“As of this evening, corruption is declared public enemy number one in this city,” he told cheering supporters.
“Public monies that have been misspent, misused, over the last five, 10 years or so … we’re going to take this money, we’re going to look after it, so that we can provide basic services to our people.”
Herman Mashaba also pledged to tackle unemployment saying: “Over 800,000 of our residents, one-in-three, are today unemployed. We need to address this and we need to address this as a matter of urgency.”