Johannesburg gets first Muslim mayor

Published January 28, 2023
<p>A file photo of Thapelo Amad. — Via Amad/Twitter</p>

A file photo of Thapelo Amad. — Via Amad/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG: A councillor from a small Muslim party was elected mayor of Johannesburg on Friday after months of political manoeuvring and legal battles for control of South Africa’s business capital.

Thapelo Amad, of the Al Jama-ah party, was voted in by the city council to replace mayor Mpho Phalatse, a member of South Africa’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Amad, 41, said he was “humbled” and “overwhelmed” at being the first Muslim to helm the country’s biggest metropolis. “It marks history in South Africa,” he told the council after the vote. He vowed to make the fight against graft his top priority.

Amad was elected with the support of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, which holds the most seats in the council but fell short of an outright majority at the 2021 city elections.

Amad’s appointment came as a surprise, with Al Jama-ah holding only three of the council’s 270 seats, and follows months of coalition horse trading.

His predecessor, Phalatse, 45, was ousted in a vote of no-confidence earlier this week.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023

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