KZN African National Congress (ANC) provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala addresses a media conference at the ANC headquarters in Durban on Tuesday.  Picture: RAJESH JANTILAL
KZN ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala. Picture: RAJESH JANTILAL

IT SEEMED that only a coin toss could break a looming deadlock with IFP and ANC councillors evenly matched in elections for key posts.

The 20-strong ANC-led alliance in the KwaZulu-Natal council of Jozini was set to tie with the 20-strong IFP-led alliance in votes for mayor‚ deputy mayor‚ speaker and chief whip.

But a mystery spoilt ballot from within the ANC-led faction gave the IFP a narrow 20-19 win in each vote.

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Delani Mabika was named mayor and Lindiwe Gumbi speaker.

KwaZulu-Natal economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala‚ who was nominated as the region’s "champion" on behalf of the provincial government‚ said after the vote that parties needed to work together.

"No matter which party you are from‚ the people need to be first. This is an area identified as one with high poverty; this new council needs to address that first‚" he said.

Jozini‚ about 350km north of Durban‚ had been unable to elect office bearers until now because the tie between the two rival factions deadlocked every decision and vote.

Previously‚ the ANC was accused of simply not showing up for meetings‚ and for not returning from a short recess after a council meeting last month.

On Friday morning‚ the fifth meeting to constitute Jozini’s council got off to a shaky start when the IFP objected to Zikalala addressing the meeting.

The IFP councillors eventually backed down and the voting process began soon after under the watchful eye of IEC provincial officer Mawethu Mosery.