Coalition talk begins as elections end
Pretoria - At least one party has already begun talks to form coalitions, with a few others expressing an interest, as the 2011 local government elections come to an end.
With results about 96% complete by noon on Friday, the ANC said it was already talking to other parties to form coalitions, which could shift the balance of power.
"Yes, it has started... about ten municipalities as we speak," ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said, without mentioning which ones.
Coalitions were a "reality", and the party had no problem with power-sharing agreements.
DA leader Helen Zille said the official opposition was "not prepared to enter into horse-trading at this stage".
"Not yet, it's very early days," she said, adding the party was open to coalitions.
The DA would share power with other parties who followed the principle of non-racialism, but not with those who were "sectarian and try to divide South Africans".
The DA snatched power in Cape Town in the previous election by heading a coalition in the 2006 polls. It has now won the city outright.
In the rest of the Western Cape however, a large number of municipalities would see the ANC and DA wrestle for control, and be ruled by coalitions.
Democracy at work
"We would have liked to take over all the municipalities, but this is democracy at work," Mthembu said.
The smaller parties who were all but eliminated in this election may play a key role as they find themselves determining power in certain municipalities.
The National Freedom Party, which was fairing relatively well in its first poll, said it would "decide" on Sunday during a leadership meeting whether it would enter into coalitions.
"Right now, it's still a no. I don't know whether we have been approached," said Evans Sosibo, a provincial leader of the party.
The NFP may be key to help the ANC wrest power from IFP municipalities in its KwaZulu-Natal stronghold.
Congress of the People acting general secretary Lyndall Shope-Mafole said the embattled ANC breakaway was also willing to share power with parties whose principles were consistent with its own.
Pan Africanist Congress elections head Apa Pooe said alliances were "currently not on the cards".
"But I'm not ruling it out."
He said in the Cederberg Municipality in the Western Cape neither the ANC nor the DA could "do anything" without his party. Here the ANC received 17 351 votes (45.40%), with the DA close behind obtaining 14 554 votes (38.08%). The PAC got 1 927 votes (5.04%), enough to give or deny the ANC a majority.