Johannesburg - Coalition talks have exposed faultlines in the ANC’s loyalties ahead of its 2017 electoral congress – and the EFF is seemingly stoking the flames with some of its alleged demands.
According to a list of demands doing the rounds on WhatsApp on Monday, the EFF wants to see Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa reinstated as a precondition to working with the ANC in the city. Various newspaper reports have indicated that the party had demanded that President Jacob Zuma step down.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi dismissed all of these alleged demands as “rubbish”.
“We are not in that stage yet. We have simply talked about talks. And when we are ready, we will say what that constituted,” he said.
A month before last week’s elections, violence erupted in the city after Ramokgopa’s bid to become mayor again was rejected, and the ANC brought Thoko Didiza in as the mayoral candidate from the outside.
Ramokgopa formed part of an ANC Gauteng meeting in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Monday afternoon to discuss the party’s next step.
The EFF’s other alleged demands included wanting the speaker position in the Tshwane council, and the mayoral committee chairperson positions for roads and transport, and agriculture and land.
Another alleged demand was that the ANC sack Baleka Mbete as National Assembly Speaker. She has clashed with the EFF numerous times during parliamentary proceedings.
It might be difficult to persuade Mbete, however. She has ambitions to become ANC president and sees her current position as a way to remain visible in her campaign, according to sources with close knowledge of her campaign.
The ANC cancelled its victory celebrations on Saturday night, and press conferences by its youth league and its Gauteng leadership on Monday.
The ANC is expected to hold a national executive committee (NEC) meeting over the weekend, to discuss coalitions.
A source close to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said Mantashe would bring in allies for the negotiations with the EFF because he said he wasn’t “going to be the only one who heads this”.
“There is big mistrust in the ANC, and the special NEC is not just about what the EFF is demanding, but it is more about the internal unease and for direction on what they should be doing,” the source said.
Power FM reported that ANC policy head and Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, was leading the ANC’s delegation. Party deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte would also be there.
Another source close to the Tshwane negotiations said a likely outcome would be the DA working with the EFF in the metro, while the ANC was keen to retain the City of Johannesburg at all costs.
Nonetheless, sources within the DA indicated that the party was confident of striking a deal with the EFF in Tshwane.
A source close to the DA said constituency heads affected by possible coalitions were asked to write to the party’s national leadership to explain the situation. From there, individual arrangements would be settled.
“This was to have happened at the weekend,” the source said.
There was talk that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille could be brought into the negotiations, to help give advice based on their experience with working in coalitions.
Both the DA and the ANC had indicated they wanted to start finalising coalitions by Wednesday. Although the EFF said it was happy to take the full two weeks allowed for the settling of hung councils to decide.
Gauteng ANC spokesperson Nkenke Kekana did not respond to messages on Monday, and neither did DA federal council chair James Selfe, who is heading coalition negotiations.