EFF, DA at odds over Tshwane coalition talks

Tshwane council chamber.
Tshwane council chamber.
Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Netwerk24

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen says negotiations with several parties, including the EFF, are under way to keep some form of power in the City of Tshwane.

On Wednesday, Steenhuisen led a delegation which included federal council chair Helen Zille and governance unit head James Selfe to meet the DA's Tshwane caucus following recent developments in the City. He is expected to lead the caucus in tomorrow's council sitting.

The last sitting failed to elect a new mayor for Tshwane, which formed part of a discussion among frustrated councillors who expressed dissatisfaction with the party's pick for mayor.

The capital city also runs the risk of being placed under administration, as its council has failed to pass its adjustment budget, which was due at the start of March.

Steenhuisen said they were in talks with political parties, including the EFF, to form yet another coalition government in the City.

This contradicts EFF leader Julius Malema's comments in December when he said he would not indulge any talks of a coalition with Zille at the helm.

"There are some things that get said in front of the cameras and there some things that are said behind closed doors. Obviously there is a distinction. Any negotiation has public posture," Steenhuisen said.

"Behind the scenes there are ongoing discussions with the EFF as late as last week. There were face-to-face discussions with Malema and Shivambu."

Steenhuisen said that the party was also in ongoing negotiations with the UDM in the Nelson Mandela Bay. He added that he had indicated to UDM leader Bantu Holomisa that the DA did not want former UDM mayor Mongameli Bobani to be part of the metro's next leadership.

'I think he is being ambitious'

Speaking to News24, EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo denied any discussion had taken place between the two EFF leaders and the DA. 

"There is no meeting of such a nature. I think he is being ambitious. We are also going on our own. We have had no agreements with the ANC. We are going on our own." 

Earlier, News24 reported that insiders said the ANC was mulling whether to side with the EFF to broker a power-sharing deal.

Gauteng ANC officials could be meeting with the party's secretary-general Ace Magashule soon to discuss what stance its members in Tshwane will take.

The DA has 92 seats in the council, the ANC 89 and the EFF 25. To win control of the council, a party needs to secure 108 votes.

Meanwhile, the ANC's Tshwane caucus has suggested all seven parties in council should each form a metro unity government proportionally, so that council continues without any further hindrance.

"The ANC will subject itself to the wisdom of the collective leadership provided by multi-parties in pursuit of a metro unity government." 

ANC regional secretary Eugene Modise said parties must forward at least one representative each to form the metro unity government. 

The DA has also suggested that it would move away from dating to a marriage, where parties sign an agreement binding them for the duration of the coalition.

This was because the party found it increasingly frustrating to have their lifeline dependent on how consistent things would be from one council meeting to another, Steenhuisen said.

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