Clever coalitions in Western Cape would include 'those in the trenches' - analyst

2016-08-05 13:59
The DA conducts a rally following its Cape Town election victory. (Thurlo Cicero)

Cape Town - Western Cape politicians faced a likely round of horse-trading after eight of the 25 councils in the province were hung, opening the way for coalitions.

Stellenbosch University political science Professor Amanda Gouws said this was the case in areas where the smaller parties became quite powerful.

While coalitions presented a difficult type of government, it offered an opportunity for tailoring policy-making to the people, she told News24 on Friday.

The Democratic Alliance had total control of 16 out of 25 councils in the province by 12:00 on Friday, with around 7% of the counting still to be done.

It was leading in 19 councils.

King makers

The African National Congress had the second single biggest support in the province, followed by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

By Friday morning, the hung councils included Laingsburg, Bitou, Hessequa, Swellendam and Witzenberg.

Results for the city of Cape Town were still being captured.

“If the parties needing to form a coalition are clever they would go for the community-based organisations,” said Gouws.

She said these regionally based parties were “in the trenches”, clued up about service delivery issues and less likely to come with an ideology.

Examples of community-based parties included the Independent Civic Organisation of SA (Icosa) and the Karoo Gemeenskap Party( KGP).

Icosa’s biggest support was in Kannaland and Oudtshoorn, while KGP’s support base was Prince Albert.

One of the hung councils is Beaufort West, which appeared to have been won by the DA early in the day, based on provisional results.

However, the ANC caught up, and each party received six seats, with the Karoo Democratic Forum, an ANC breakaway, emerging as the kingmaker there with one seat.

Gouws said the fact that the ANC had lost full control of Beaufort West showed that a vote was not just about party loyalty.

“It is a good indication that voters are starting to think about issues of service delivery and how parties treat them.”

She said the DA had increased its support significantly across the province, on the back of a “good, solid” campaign.

“The ANC lost support and I think it is probably quite disappointed.”

The votes in the province would be audited by Ernst and Young.

Once counted, the results are traditionally declared on the Saturday after the election so until then, the results are considered provisional.

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