EFF leader Julius Malema (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)
Johannesburg – The EFF’s refusal to enter into coalitions with the ANC or DA will give it extraordinary power in local government, but could slow down decision-making, political analysts say.
"It will get the two bigger parties to do the dirty work for it, effectively getting to do what governments do without being in power or going into government," the University of the Witwatersrand's Susan Booysen said on Wednesday.
The party would hold a lot of bargaining power and get the chance to do two things it set out to do from the onset: punish the ANC and ensure the poor get services.
How the ruling party dealt with being in the opposition benches would indicate whether or not South Africa was truly a maturing democracy.
"The proof of maturity can only come later, when we see how the ANC is embracing the changes, handling being out of power," Booysen said.
The EFF announced on Wednesday that it would not form coalitions with either the DA or ANC in hung municipalities across the country.
It would however vote with the DA in the Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, and Nelson Mandela Bay metros. It would side with the IFP in hung KwaZulu-Natal municipalities and with the Forum 4 Service Delivery in Rustenburg.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga expressed concern about the uncertainty that lay ahead.
"The game plan from here onwards is that negotiations become an ongoing process. We are entering a very uncertain term of local government."
Mathekga said decision-making would now need to go through the opposition, which might mean the real impact of choices could only be truly felt much later than usual.
"The focus will now be on oversight, which could mean decisions won’t be taken timeously and, as a result, impact service delivery. Each decision now has to go through a hurdle and has to be explained meticulously," Mathekga said.
The battle against corruption would however likely receive a much-needed boost as this was what all parties had expressed a desire to put a stop to.
"This might be the path towards finally eliminating corruption, or at least reducing it by a great margin."
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