Cracking coalitions

2017-07-17 14:13
IFP chairperson Blessed Gwala said he did not understand why the DA would abstain from voting.

IFP chairperson Blessed Gwala said he did not understand why the DA would abstain from voting. (Siyabonga Simelane)

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WATCH: POLOTIKI | Monopoly capital, corruption and coalitions

2017-07-05 09:05

It's Day 6 and the final day of the ANC national policy conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg. Polotiki breaks down the report back from three of the commissions. WATCH

Trouble in paradise already?

Barely a year after signing co-operation agreements, cracks are starting to show in the IFP/DA co-operation-led councils in KZN, dashing hopes of dislodging the ANC from power through a coalition in the 2019 polls.

Political analysts have warned the standoff between the two parties could put several other KZN and national municipalities that are run by coalition governments in jeopardy.

Nationally, the DA-led coalition in Mogale City has collapsed and the ANC has reclaimed the municipality after DA mayor Michael Holenstein was removed with a vote of no confidence.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, the DA-led coalition agreement was on the brink of collapse in May and needed the intervention of a multi-party committee to save it. Mayor Athol Trollip and his deputy‚ Mongameli Bobani, who are from the DA and UDM respectively, were at loggerheads over various issues with the tension between them threatening the coalition agreement.

In KZN, the co-governance agreement at Endumeni Municipality (Dundee) is on the rocks.

The DA has said it will abstain from voting in a no-confidence vote against mayor Richard Mbatha, which was tabled by the ANC after corruption allegations were made against Mbatha.

The move will leave the IFP vulnerable, ultimately increasing the chances of the ANC motion succeeding.

DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said unless the allegations were tested, the DA will abstain from voting.

“We are not supporting the ANC or IFP in this motion; we will abstain from voting,” he said.

IFP chairperson Blessed Gwala said he did not understand why the DA would abstain from voting.

“MPAC (Municipal Public Accounts Committee) investigated the matter and vindicated the mayor.

“The reason the ANC wants to remove this mayor is because of a forensic investigation that is going on that will reveal corruption done by the previous administration.”

However, the DA said the MPAC report had not been tabled to council and remains confidential.

“The IFP must table the report to council. We are a party that believes in transparency. We do not hide things.

“The public wants to know,” said Mncwango.

He said he had heard nothing from the IFP since he submitted supporting documents to the corruption allegations being made about the mayor in May.

“All I expected from the IFP was to test the allegations. If the municipality can appoint a forensic investigator today, we will go and vote with IFP on the upcoming motion, because we will know that something is being done about the allegations,” he said.

Political analyst at the University of KZN Zakhele Ndlovu said the continued standoff between the two political parties could have far-reaching consequences as it could jeopardise relationships in other coalition-run municipalities.

“This bad blood does not bode well for coalitions, especially now since there is this talk that the ANC might lose power in 2019 and a coalition government would be needed since there would be no clear winner.

“It is clear that these marriages of convenience are not working.

“It is unfortunate that as a country we do not seem to be growing politically. The ‘What is for me?’ attitude seems to be taking us back,” he said.

Ndlovu said the two political parties needed to take a moment and think about what was at stake. “If they continue like this, they might hand back power to the ANC.”

He said the continued fighting would affect the administration in the municipality.

“Service delivery will take a back seat and that can lead to protests as people are growing more and more impatient about service delivery,” he said.

The DA said it was still committed to the agreement it reached with the IFP after the local government election, despite rumours that the IFP was mulling pulling out of it.

“We are saying to them, do not drag other municipalities to this. This is a specific issue concerning Endumeni,” said Mncwango.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  coalitions

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