Pretoria - The DA in Limpopo won the mayoral position in the much-sought after Modimolle-Mookgophong Local Municipality through a coin toss last week.
The DA’s Marlene van Staden won the coin toss during Thursday’s council sitting after the voting reached a stalemate of 14-14 for the fifth time. In an event of a tie for the mayor’s position after two attempts the electoral law allows the mayor to be chosen by lot (or coin toss).
The coin toss is provided for in the Municipal Structures Act under Schedule which states: “If at the further meeting held only two candidates are nominated, or if only two candidates remain after an elimination procedure has been applied, and those two candidates receive the same number of votes, the person presiding at such meeting must determine by lot who of the two candidates will hold the office for which the election has taken place.”
The hung municipality, which is predominantly farmland, was led by Van Staden through a coalition with the FF-Plus from 2016.
Although the DA won the mayoral position, the ANC would be consoled by occupying the speaker and chief whip positions with Sinah Langa being elected as speaker and Maria Kekana as chief whip on Thursday.
The meeting had been held four previous times with no resolution on the position of mayor, while a speaker was only elected at the fourth meeting.
Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, Van Staden expressed her gratitude to EFF and FF plus council members, who voted with the DA.
She said: “I want to especially thank the opposition councillors who supported my nomination. My position for mayor for Modimolle-Mookgophong local council was determined through a coin toss. Before the official from the traffic department started there were two pastors present to pray for both candidates. I felt extremely calm during the process because I realised that we were both in the hands of God.
“I am fully aware that this is not the ideal way in which to elect a mayor and wish our democratic process had produced a more conclusive outcome. Nevertheless, I am determined to serve the residents of the municipality to the best of my abilities and will work with all parties in council to build on the good work that we did in the previous term.”
She added: “Our municipality is bursting with promise and potential and I will once again pursue to stabilise our finances and root out corruption, improve basic services and end supply interruptions, implement projects successfully and reject poor workmanship, enable job-creating growth and eliminate delays to development and ensure that officials serve residents and not politicians.”
She said the municipality still faced lots of challenges including financial difficulties, persistent water and sewer challenges.
“I’m looking forward to working with all councillors in the municipality, including the ANC speaker and chief whip.
“I think I have proven over the past five years that I can definitely work with anyone that has the municipality and its residents as their first priority.”