DA seems to be in pole position as coalition talks drag on

2016-08-10 12:03

Johannesburg - DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe has arrived in Johannesburg to attend three separate meetings to thrash out the details of possible coalition deals in the various hung municipal councils.

These include the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay metros.

- Elections Results Map: DA

Party leaders have been tight-lipped about the details of negotiations, and Selfe is the only leader in the DA delegated to speak on the matter.

But News24 has learnt from a source in the DA that the latest update on the coalitions was that the party has resolved to work with the EFF in Johannesburg and Tshwane, and to involve them in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro coalition too.

In the latter, the DA can form a majority government with only the help of the UDM, the United Front and another smaller party, but Selfe had earlier hinted that it would be wise to involve the EFF too in order to secure their goodwill in other coalition talks.

Hung municipalities like Mookgopong, Modimolle and Rustenburg also form key negotiating points in the bigger coalition deal, DA sources have said.

The DA is believed to have had a federal executive meeting on Tuesday night, but Selfe could not be reached to confirm this and did not respond to messages.


DA mayoral candidate for Johannesburg Herman Mashaba has already met city managers and administrators. Selfe told talk radio station 702 on Wednesday morning that “it is better to be prepared than not to be prepared. If it doesn’t work out that way, then nothing is lost”, but if Mashaba did become mayor of Johannesburg then service delivery could start promptly.

Selfe confirmed to 702 that he would be having three separate meetings with political parties “at which we hope to become more specific on what it is that we want to achieve in those metropolitan councils”.

He said, however, that the DA was already the winner for getting the most votes in some of the councils, and although it was prepared to compromise, there were some non-negotiables.

Selfe also confirmed that the DA has discussed “some ideological issues” with the EFF, and although some of these issues, which included the expropriation of land, were not municipal competencies, Selfe said the DA was “seeing what we can do to accommodate those requests”.

He called a list of submissions by the UDM, EFF, UF and Cope on their principle demands for a coalition “broad points of departure” and confirmed that these were on the table.

Not horse trading

DA mayoral candidate for Tshwane Solly Msimanga told News24: "We are still talking, discussing a number of issues. What makes the negotiations difficult is that they are not around one municipality and like any other kind of negotiation people would want to stretch talks and get the best out of them.

“We are not negotiating the horse trading of municipalities, we are discussing the kind of relationships we will have if we are about to go into a partnership, it’s the positions… who will get to have what position in the (mayoral committees). It’s not like you give me this municipality and you take that one.”

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa confirmed to 702 that his party would meet with the DA and other opposition parties for a second time on Wednesday afternoon.

He said he has also spoken to the ANC.

Demands for Zuma to resign

Holomisa, however, said the demands in the submissions for President Jacob Zuma to resign are a matter the “ANC and EFF have been dealing with specifically”.

Although the ANC Youth League and the Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association have rejected this request outright, Holomisa said “those structures have no influence and we will have to wait for an NEC (national executive committee meeting) to pronounce first on such demands”.

The NEC is set to have a special four-day meeting, starting on Thursday, at which the party is expected to talk about possible coalitions as well as an analysis of why it had performed disappointingly in the recent local government elections.

The ANC’s national share of the vote dipped below the psychological level of 60% to just under 54%.

Despite structures like the ANC in Gauteng having planned briefings for earlier this week on the elections, it is expected that the party would only go public with a position on coalitions and on the elections after the weekend.

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