Second SA city elects mayor from minority party

Lawmakers in the South African municipality of Tshwane elected a mayor from a minority party — the second major city this year to hand power to an official who has no popular mandate.

Murunwa Makwarela of the Congress of the People, which holds only one of the 214 municipal council seats, beat Cilliers Brink of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, proceedings streamed live by the city on Tuesday showed. Tshwane includes the South African capital, Pretoria.

Last month, a member of a political party with just 1% of seats was elected mayor of Johannesburg.

In both cities, the mayors were elected with backing from South Africa’s governing African National Congress. The ANC has said electing leaders from parties that lack a popular mandate circumvents democratic processes and it plans to introduce a framework for how it will work with coalitions before next year’s general elections.

Coalitions are a relatively new feature in politics in South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised economy. They gained prominence after the 2016 municipal elections, in which a number of local councils, including in major urban centers, had no outright winners, resulting in multiparty alliances.

Since then, power has repeatedly changed hands in urban centers. Johannesburg has had eight mayors since 2016, while Tshwane has had four.

© 2023 Bloomberg