United Front dismisses idea of coalition with DA

2016-04-24 18:10
(File: DA)

(File: DA)

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Cape Town  The United Front would not be contesting the local government elections let alone forming an electoral pact with the DA, the movement said on Sunday after Zwelinzima Vavi confirmed he had met DA leader, Mmusi Maimane.

"If Zwelinzima Vavi met with the DA’s Mmusi Maimane or anyone else of the DA or any other political formation (which is his right) he was not meeting the DA on behalf of or with any mandate of the United Front," the movement said in a statement.

The Sunday Times reported earlier that Maimane was "courting" Vavi, a former secretary general of the ANC-aligned Cosatu, as it intensified its bid to wrest power from the ANC in Port Elizabeth in August's local government elections.

The story caused a stir as Vavi has consistently slated the DA and its policies as an anathema to progress for the working class and the poor in South Africa.

Vavi, speaking to News24 on Sunday, said the report on their meeting was an outright effort to “sell newspapers”.

No possibility

“There was a meeting between myself and Mmusi Maimane after it became obvious that no one would win the elections outright in the Nelson Mandela Bay,” he said.

“He came to me and said 'Can we explore a coalition with the United Front', to which I said, 'Go and speak to them'. That is the simple truth,” he said.

The UF's national working committee responded by saying, "The DA is a party that argues for neoliberalism and we see no possibility of an alliance with the DA electorally in any part of the country."

It was certain that Vavi did not claim to speak on behalf of the UF as he was not active in its elected structures.

"In fact, the United Front has taken a decision NOT to stand in the local government elections because we see our first priority as fighting for decent services, jobs and a better life, in building the power of grassroots movements to articulate and mobilise around their democratic demands," the movement said.

It did not think elections would deliver what people needed but it would not encourage a boycott.

Fight for decent services

"The United Front was formed because we have noted that holding elected positions in national, provincial and local parliaments cannot deliver the South Africa we want. People’s power expressed through democratic mass organisations and through direct forms of mass action is where power is located and where the United Front is concentrating its efforts."

It would consider supporting affiliates of the UF on condition their policies are aligned, they sign a pledge to recall candidates if necessary and that elected candidates agree to have their salary set by their organisation and not the "inflated" salaries the electoral system brings.

Meanwhile, the DA said it was not presently in any coalition talks.

"While we meet with other political parties and civil society organisations from time to time, which is completely normal in a multi-party democracy, we dismiss outright reports that we are in coalition talks at this stage," said DA spokesperson, Phumzile van Damme.

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