SA’s biggest political parties are wooing one another, as well as smaller players, in a bid to take control of the country’s biggest metros
A tentative deal has been struck between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on possible coalition arrangements following last week’s municipal elections.
Should the talks be successfully concluded tomorrow, this could end the ANC’s control of the big budget Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Johannesburg metropolitan municipalities.
City Press has learnt that Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille was instrumental in the DA’s talks with the EFF during negotiations this week when she pushed that the DA accommodate the EFF’s demand for land and economic transformation.
However, any deal struck by the two improbable allies must still be ratified in the next few days.
In Tshwane, the DA expects to inaugurate new mayor Solly Msimanga on Thursday.
A key concession had been that the budget passed by the DA had to be pro-poor or the EFF would vote against it.
In Johannesburg, according to a DA insider, the EFF is happy with oversight posts in council subcommittees.
The party wanted to maintain its independence as opposition and did not take up any executive posts.
A media briefing is expected early this week to announce the agreement between the EFF and the DA.
In the meantime, the ANC has been talking to the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in order to hold on to the City of Gold.
In Ekurhuleni, the ANC is meeting with the African Independent Congress (AIC) today in what could result in a deal being clinched.
Among the thorny issues to be discussed are the common colours of the party and their placing next to each other on the ballot paper, which ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has described as a source of “confusion” for voters.
The IFP is believed to be already on board.
Ekurhuleni ANC mayor designate Mzwandile Masina is said to be confident that he will deliver his inaugural address by the end of this week.
De Lille, a former leader of the Pan African Congress, agreed with the EFF in a meeting on Monday in Johannesburg that the issue of land had not been dealt with properly since 1994 and that there was room for working together on the matter, because municipalities do handle the allocation of land.
City Press has learnt that the EFF strongly believed that plans for nuclear power plants should be halted and that the economy should be transformed to accommodate small and emerging black business.
The meeting on Monday was attended by the EFF’s Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Dali Mpofu, and the DA’s Athol Trollip, James Selfe, Maimane and De Lille.
De Lille told City Press that the negotiating process was more important than the people involved because it was determined by the mandate.
“The team itself must always go backwards and forwards to the principals to seek a mandate,” said De Lille.
Selfe said De Lille had vast experience of municipal government, and that her input on the issue of municipal land had been key in swaying the EFF.
Earlier on Monday the EFF team had met the ANC in a meeting attended by ANC big wigs Jeff Radebe, Jessie Duarte, Gwede Mantashe, Andries Nel and Paul Mashatile.
Besides the demand that President Jacob Zuma resign, the EFF raised concerns about the influence of the Guptas in government as well as nuclear energy plans.
The deal fell through when Duarte said the EFF could not talk state capture based on the Guptas alone, but should look at all state capture since 1994.
The EFF was upset with the ANC’s attitude and felt they were not taken seriously by the ANC – which said it would consider the EFF submission and get back to them.
Nelson Mandela Bay
The DA is confident it will beat the ANC again, this time by winning the coalition contest as the two political archrivals woo smaller parties into forming a government at the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.
The DA, which has 57 seats, only needs four more to acquire the required 61 to get a majority in the 120-seat council.
The DA and United Democratic Movement, which has two seats, are said to be close to a deal, after which the DA will only need two more.
The ANC, on the other hand, has 50 seats, and unlike the DA, it needs the EFF, whose negotiating demands are harder to meet, as well as all the other small parties. The ANC is 11 seats short.
Nelson Mandela Bay EFF regional secretary, Zilindile Vena, said on Friday no deal had been reached as the party was awaiting a decision by its top structure, likely to be on Monday.
The EFF has six seats in the council.
Beza Ntshona, the ANC regional task team convener, said their focus was to convince the seven small political parties to form a coalition government with them before the council meeting next week.
Collectively, the small parties had 13 seats and if they joined the ANC, they would have a collective majority of 63 seats.
City Press understands that in the Rustenburg local municipality in North West, the DA has gestured that it would support the EFF, whose top brass on Friday was conducting an audit of potential coalition partners in Rustenburg to establish their political history and credentials.
Although the ANC had a majority in Rustenburg, the party had allegedly committed tactical blunders that could derail its mission to retain North West’s mineral-rich Rustenburg.
Potential coalition partners accused the ANC of negotiating in bad faith and looking down on a smaller local party that could be the difference between regaining its mayoral seat and losing it to a coalition.
The party had also picked up an identity battle with the AIC, which will be discussed in a meeting scheduled for today.
Ironically, the ANC needs only two more seats to take its tally to the required majority of 45 seats, while both the EFF (24 seats) and the DA (14 seats) should get a total of seven more seats to topple the governing party.
But the odds this week seemed to favour the opposition more than the ANC, which dropped to below 50% for the first time during last week’s municipal elections.
In KwaZulu-Natal, where there are six hung municipalities, coalition negotiations were expected to be wrapped up by Tuesday.
These municipalities are Mtubatuba, Jozini, Nquthu, eDumbe, Abaqulusi, Endumeni and Estcourt/uMtzhezi.
There are also coalition talks taking place in the two hung district municipalities, Zululand and Umzinyathi.
While some ANC sources were indicating an improvement in relations between the ANC and IFP, and hinting towards the two working together, a more realistic outcome is the IFP working with the DA in the six locals and in the two districts.
The ANC already had a commitment to work out how to accommodate the leadership of the National Freedom Party (NFP) in the councils it controls as payback for the party – which failed to make the cut for registration – calling on its supporters and members to vote for the ANC.
It was unlikely that the IFP, which made the greatest gains from the breakaway NFP’s electoral demise, will accept a working relationship with the governing party if it goes ahead with rewarding the NFP.
The IFP was more likely to work with the DA, with which it has previously had a provincial alliance.