Coalition talks: 'We will not govern with a gun to our head' - John Steenhuisen

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DA leader John Steenhuisen.
DA leader John Steenhuisen.
Gallo Images/Frennie Shivambu
  • John Steenhuisen says the party is continuing coalition talks for the big metros.
  • He says the DA will not be dictated to on how to govern.
  • The party aims to form majority governments, but is aware it may fail to do so.

The DA is seized with coalition talks in the big metros, but party leader John Steenhuisen insists they are unwilling to govern with a gun to their head, just for the sake of gaining majorities. 

Steenhuisen said the party had been engaging with smaller political parties to form coalition governments. 

The DA was able to see its mayors elected in Gauteng's big metros, but would need opposition support to govern by majority. 

Steenhuisen reiterated the party wanted to form stable coalition governments, and talks were ongoing in the big metros of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni. 

READ | The DA faces a tough test in turning around its first KZN municipality

He said the effort to govern with a majority did not mean the party would give in to the whims and demands made by the EFF. 

"We are not going to govern with a gun against our heads. It is not possible to govern effectively with a gun against your head. 

"As much as we are prepared to give anything to make this work, we will be quite happy to go back to the opposition benches. No one is going to dictate to us what our principle sets are. The DA is not closed to any party and will be entitled to putting forward good ideas," Steenhuisen said during a press briefing on Friday. 

The DA's Federal Council chairperson, Helen Zille, speaking on allegations made by EFF leader Julius Malema, said the red berets were bitter because it was being told to negotiate in good faith. 

READ | Malema clarifies EFF's backing of DA candidates

Malema accused Zille and the DA of going against the opposition political parties. He also accused her of having an arrangement with Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC president.

Zille rubbished these claims. 

She said the party's stance on non-cooperation with the EFF was because the DA would not be dictated to on how to govern. 

"Non-cooperation with the EFF means we will not do what was done before, where the EFF expects to dictate to the parties inside the government on what to do. That is the kind of conditions Malema wanted. He does not want to be in government. He wants to control the officials and the tenders issued by the government," she said. 

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