Stay or go? DA in Limpopo in quandary over coalition partners

2018-12-04 07:05
A DA flag waving in the wind. Picture: File

A DA flag waving in the wind. Picture: File

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The DA has found itself in a quandary over whether to remain in a coalition with the EFF and other parties at municipalities they govern in Limpopo.

The fast deteriorating relationship has been worsened by the heavy exchange of words after EFF supporters attacked Vodacom shops in Polokwane and Makhado on Sunday.

The DA has since laid charges of malicious damage to property and accessory to crime against the EFF.

In reaction, EFF provincial leader, Jossey Buthane, suggested that his party no longer needed the DA as a political partner in the province.

In an exclusive interview with News24 on Monday, DA provincial leader, Jacques Smalle, described the deteriorating relationship as "an experiment that shows that we need to find each other".

The DA and EFF are in a coalition at two municipalities – Modimolle-Mookgophong and Thabazimbi. Both municipalities are facing serious political instability, with governance almost at a standstill.

They wrestled power from the ANC after the 2016 municipal elections. However, Smalle says municipalities are governed by a set of principles.

"For 20 years those municipalities were led by the ANC. To make change, you have to offer a different set of values in those towns.

"We don't necessarily agree with the EFF on issues such as land, transparency in tender processes and others. We also have differences with the FF [Freedom Front] and TRA [Thabazimbi Residents Association].

READ: DA in Limpopo in panic mode after move to oust it from political power

"If any of our alliance partners are not committed to those values, then we are in a difficult situation," he said.

The serious cracks in the coalition in the province were exposed when the EFF filed a motion of no confidence in the entire DA political management team of the Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality.

The team comprises the mayor, Marlene van Staden, speaker Dingaan Motswene and chief whip, Hercules Louw.

The ANC has also filed the motion of no confidence in Van Staden.

To make matters worse for the DA, the provincial government has kick-started a process to dissolve the municipal council of Modimolle-Mookgophong, provided for by section 139(1)c of the Constitution which deals with the dissolving of the municipal council and appointing an administrator until a newly elected municipal council has been declared elected, if circumstances warrant such a step.

But Smalle believes the process to dissolve the council was a reflection of the kind of politics being played in the province.

"There is in fact a bigger role being played by the government. There are 11 municipalities that are dysfunctional, but are not being dissolved under section 139 (1)c. The municipality [Modimolle-Mookgophong] was 'looted to its bone'," Smalle said.

He said the move to invoke section 139(1)c was a move to pre-empt the forensic report, implicating senior politicians, which is to be released soon.

He said the decision to dissolve the municipal council would be challenged in court. However, he remained steadfast that for the coalition to survive in the province, good governance of the municipalities must proceed.

He believes the EFF in Limpopo has embarked on a violent and destructive campaign which it wrongly asserts may solve the problems in the province.

"I have good working relations with certain individuals in those parties. My first priority is to put good governance in place and that we are transparent with information," Smalle said.

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Read more on:    da  |  eff  |  polokwane  |  politics

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