Red berets go all out to prove they can govern Coalition formation

Mahikeng - The council in the Metsimaholo Municipality in the Free State town of Sasolburg will on Tuesday pass a motion of no confidence in the mayor, tabled by the DA and supported by the EFF.

The two unlikely bedfellows will look to remove Mayor Sello Hlasa, the leader of the Metsimaholo Community Association (MCA).

Hlasa was installed as mayor by the two opposition heavyweights, with the support of the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), after last year’s local government elections. In so doing, the ANC was unseated from its governing position.

The ANC won 19 seats, which have since become 18 after the resignation of a councillor in Ward 12, where by-elections will be held on Wednesday.

The DA got 12 seats, the EFF eight, the MCA two and the FF Plus one.

The MCA claims that the EFF and the DA have made unsubstantiated allegations that Hlasa has been “captured” by Free State Premier and ANC chairperson Ace Magashule.

It has also accused the DA of suspending “black councillors” who are against the motion of no confidence.

The MCA has indicated that it will abstain from Tuesday’s vote.

James Selfe, the DA’s federal executive chairperson, told City Press that the party had proof that one of the councillors had been offered a bribe from the ANC to vote with the party on Tuesday.

He put the breakdown of trust between the MCA and the three other coalition parties down to the party’s lack of a firm ideology.

“The mayor does not see anything problematic about consorting with the ANC or, for example, accepting positions and hospitality for the ANC,” Selfe said.

“[Hlasa] appointed people to the mayor’s office without consultation; he allowed money to be spent on projects that brought little value to the people of the municipality; he failed to deal effectively with the municipal manager; and so on.”

EFF leader Julius Malema announced on Monday  that the Red Berets would look to govern Metsimaholo without the assistance of any other party.

“We have told the DA that when we take over government in Metsimaholo, we want to be the government alone. We do not want a coalition.

“We want the DA to vote for the EFF government in Metsimaholo, in the same way we voted for it to govern in Johannesburg. Then we are going to run a successful municipality. If the DA refuses, it will be unfortunate. We will give it to the DA if it refuses.”

Selfe told City Press earlier that the decision on whether to hand over the municipality to the EFF was still to be taken by the party’s federal executive, but he did not rule out the possibility.

“Should we decide to allow the EFF to control the municipality, we know that we will have to explain our reasons for doing so very clearly to those who supported us in the election.”

It is the same conundrum the EFF found itself in when it handed over three metros to the DA last year.

Having failed to win any municipality at the polls, the EFF will look to use Metsimaholo as its track record of governance ahead of the 2019 national elections, where the party will look to dislodge the ANC.

Metsimaholo has been one of the targeted areas in the EFF’s electoral campaign. The party was campaigning fiercely this week ahead of Wednesday’s by-election.

On Thursday the gloves were off as the EFF took to the streets, cutting grass at residents’ homes and conducting other community initiatives.

Meanwhile, the ANC pitched a marquee in the area and handed out food parcels to residents, saying it would not go down without a fight.

Coalition Formation:

ANC 19

DA 12

Economic Freedom Fighters 8

Metsimaholo Community Association 2

Freedom Front Plus 1

Mayor: MCA’s Sello Hlasa

Speaker: DA’s Arnoldi du Plooy

Council whip: DA’s Linda Radebe.

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