Parties in talks to sort out KZN hung councils

2011-05-27 00:00

MAJOR KwaZulu-Natal political parties — the ANC and its rivals, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the National Freedom Party — are involved in inter-organisational talks to determine who will lead the 19 hung municipalities in the province before the deadline for the installation of new municipal structures.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), new municipal structures are to be installed before the end of next week following the declaration of results last weekend.

The ANC won 39 municipalities with an outright majority out of 61 municipalities that were contested during the May 18 elections. The IFP got two — Ulundi and Msinga — while the NFP were unrivalled at eDumbe Municipality in Paulpietersburg.

The other 19 municipalities were left hung with no political party scoring an absolute majority.

All of the hung municipalities were previously under the IFP or IFP-Democratic Alliance control as the ANC managed to retain all its 29 municipalities it previously held.

Prior to last week’s elections the IFP was controlling 32 municipalities, which means that it lost control of at least 30 municipalities.

Negotiations between the NFP and the ANC over the hung municipalities, which officially started on Monday, are reportedly at an advanced stage, with discussions now focusing on the division of positions.

Negotiations between the NFP and the IFP was a non-starter as both had laid down preconditions for any arrangement about hung municipalities.

NFP leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi said the NFP can only entertain talks with the IFP once its leadership has apologised and publicly withdrawn statements that the NFP is an ANC-funded project, while the IFP chief negotiator Narend Singh reportedly said the NFP must also apologise to the NFP for “harsh sentiments” towards the IFP.

The ANC and the IFP are also said to be involved in negotiations centering on the control of hung municipalities.

NFP spokesperson Andile Biyela confirmed that during the talks the NFP was seeking ANC support in getting at least three mayoral positions, reportedly in Nongoma, Indaka and in Zululand, while in other areas where the ANC did better than the NFP, it wants deputy mayors, speakers or executive committee positions.

“Another ANC-NFP meeting is scheduled to take place today and should it become successful, principals of both parties are expected to meet this evening to finalise the deal,” Biyela said.

He also confirmed that the NFP received a letter yesterday from the IFP proposing that the two parties discuss pre-conditions before entering into formal coalition talks.

ANC provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, said negotiations with the NFP are still continuing, but he could not release details.

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