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ANC loses Johannesburg mayor race

Published on November 22, 2021

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress lost control of Johannesburg on Monday when the council chose a mayor from the opposition to lead the country’s largest city.

The ANC lost local elections on November 1 in its worst showing at the ballot since the advent of democracy in 1994.

The city council chose Mpho Phalatse from the Democratic Alliance to lead the city, the first black woman to do so, and the first woman since 1946.

Phalatse is the fourth mayor to run Johannesburg this year, after one died of Covid and another in a car accident. Outgoing mayor Mpho Moerane has been in office only since October.

He lost the council vote to Phalatse, 144-121.

She will now have to keep her allies happy to stay in office — something the last DA mayor failed to do, being ousted in 2019 when coalition partners switched back to the ANC.

The last woman to serve as mayor was Jessie McPherson — an opponent of apartheid policies who is nonetheless described in official city records as a “housewife”.