Editorial | Govern for the residents

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
A police officer clears the road in Embalenhle township outside Pietermaritzburg after a service delivery protest by residents. Photo: Tebogo Letsie
A police officer clears the road in Embalenhle township outside Pietermaritzburg after a service delivery protest by residents. Photo: Tebogo Letsie


In 2016, South Africa first experienced coalition governments after opposition parties banded together to remove the ANC from power in the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay metro councils.

It was initially a great step, showing the country that power was no longer concentrated in the hands of one political party. However, it later turned sour, when political bickering, repeated motions of no confidence and even violence became synonymous with these metros.

None of the coalition governments completed their term with the same leaders who had been elected, as various forms of interruptions ensured that the leaders were swapped midway.

READ: Mondli Makhanya | Ramaphosa: South Africa’s last ANC president?

What stood out then was that the voters who had elected the political parties were ignored, while the egos of the party leaders dominated.

As we enter a new round of coalitions that were formed this week in local municipalities, there are well-founded fears that the unfortunate episodes might be repeated in a fresh cycle. But it might be even worse this time around, as some of the coalitions were not formally negotiated.

The supposed negotiations over the coalitions were self-centred displays of immaturity by the parties’ leaders, who seemed less concerned about the instability that might be unleashed on the communities as a result.

The DA finds itself running three powerful Gauteng metros that it neither deserved on the basis of the election results, nor expected to take charge of after the EFF manoeuvred to ensure that it was given power.

READ: Setumo Stone | The EFF masterstroke

The danger with this arrangement is that the DA will still need to cooperate with these unwanted allies for it to pass legislation such as the budgets in the councils. There is a danger that these other parties might use their leverage to block the passing of these budgets, or make unreasonable demands in exchange for their cooperation.

In the past, the ANC has not proven gracious in defeat and might attempt to destabilise the new administrations. We hope that, under President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership, the ANC will show maturity as it moves to opposition benches.

Above all, we hope the parties remember that the power they exercise is on behalf of the people who expect the provision of water and electricity, waste removal, proper infrastructure, functioning local economies and accountable municipalities.


Delivering the 

news you need

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24


Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s comments on the Constitution and the judiciary has been termed an “extraordinary attack” that is “dangerous and regressive”. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
She’s within her rights
11% - 35 votes
It’s all politics
26% - 83 votes
It was irresponsible
63% - 202 votes