How EFF-DA marriage collapsed

DA leader Mmusi Maimane and EFF president Julius Malema. Picture: Gallo Images
DA leader Mmusi Maimane and EFF president Julius Malema. Picture: Gallo Images

The EFF would rather not vote on crucial local government budgets – and instead hold early by-elections – than side with the DA in the hung municipalities of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay.

Since the 2016 local government elections the two parties have enjoyed a camaraderie that has resulted in them – on most occasions – voting in each other’s favour on a vote-by-vote basis.

But this week their informal coalition collapsed.

It happened when the EFF overplayed its hand by demanding that the DA hand over the City of Tshwane mayorship and include EFF members in the mayoral committee.

Solly Malatsi, the DA national spokesperson, said that after the general elections the EFF had approached the DA national leadership with the proposal.

The proposal, as Julius Malema repeated in his press briefing on Tuesday, was that the party wanted an EFF mayor in Tshwane and that its members would form part of the mayoral committee.

The DA would also be allocated a number of mayoral committee positions, said Malatsi.

The proposal was snubbed by the DA which said the EFF had performed badly in the recent national and provincial elections in the three metros.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said yesterday his party would rather abstain from voting with their former co-conspirators even if it meant crucial budgets would not be passed.

Ndlozi said the EFF would prefer it if municipalities went into early elections.

“The EFF has been voting with all opposition parties. However, hence forth, the EFF will no longer vote with the DA to constitute municipal governments. This includes budgets and, even if it means the municipalities will go to by-elections, so be it. We are ready for that,” said Ndlozi.

Malatsi told City Press that “such a proposal represented a fundamental shift” from the initial agreement that the DA had with the EFF.

Malatsi revealed that “the EFF had agreed on merit to vote in support with us on a vote-by-vote basis”.

“You remember in 2016 the EFF said at a press conference that it did not want to enter into any formal coalition agreement with the DA, so we went ahead and formed formal coalition agreements with the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Congress of the People, United Democratic Movement, the Freedom Front Plus and other parties.”

Notwithstanding their continued public refusal to enter into a formal agreement with the DA, Malatsi said “the EFF approached our national leadership with this unworkable proposal”.

“We had to go back to our party structures to liaise with the mayors of the municipalities that would be affected by this proposal.

“More importantly, we had to take the EFF’s offer to our coalition partners and through a process of consultations it was agreed that this would represent a wholesale departure from the initial agreement.”

Regardless of this, Malatsi said because the DA had the largest percentage of votes among the opposition parties in the coalition, it would lead the decision and concluded that the EFF’s proposal was unworkable.

“That’s where we are,” said Malatsi.

Malema said on Thursday his party was infuriated by the DA’s arrogance and the corruption that had festered under the party’s governance.

“We are not going to be used by the DA who don’t say they are in a co-governance even in places where there is a coalition.

“They refer to such places as ‘DA governments’ as if they won elections. It’s not going to happen any more,” said a seething Malema.

The EFF leader said his party had spoken to the DA and informed it of its wish to take over Tshwane.

“Tshwane is badly run and we wanted to rescue this city because the EFF leadership is committed to dealing with issues of corruption that are taking place in Tshwane. If you hear the stories of this city, in particular, the role that is played by the chief financial officer, it’s not helpful in uprooting corruption.”

Real cracks in the relation between the two parties started to show in February last year when the DA did not support the EFF’s motion in the National Assembly on expropriation without compensation.

This led to Malema saying his party would oust Athol Trollip to punish the DA and to “cut the throat of whiteness”.

He said at the time that targeting Trollip did not mean the EFF would not target Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and then Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga. After this many motions of no confidence were brought by the EFF on Trollip and Msimanga.

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