Tough-talking smaller parties make demands clear for coalition govt in Nelson Mandela Bay

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  • Smaller political parties have emerged as potential kingmakers in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
  • The ANC and DA failed to garner an outright majority vote to govern the Eastern Cape's second biggest metro.
  • Both parties got 48 council seats which are not enough to govern with a majority.

Treat us like an equal partner, root out corruption, and allocate 24% of Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) metro's budget to historically coloured areas in Gqeberha.

These are the demands of one of the city's political newcomers, the Northern Alliance (NA) - a party aimed at serving communities in NMB's coloured dominated northern areas.

The NA could emerge as a kingmaker in the council after the ANC and DA failed to garner an outright majority vote to govern what is considered the Eastern Cape's gemstones.

By Thursday, the ANC and DA had both won 48 seats and need the support of smaller parties to form a government for NMB.

READ | ANC, DA in fierce battle for Nelson Mandela Bay, coalition govt likely

While the EFF won eight seats in the council, it was political newcomers that rocked the scene in this year's municipal election.

The NA won three seats in the NMB council, five fewer than the EFF, who took the third spot on the rankings.

NA president Gary van Niekerk said voters in the northern areas remained their biggest priority.

The northern areas include the suburbs of Helenvale, Bethelsdorp, and Arcadia.

"We want better services for the northern areas. Treat us like an equal partner in a coalition. We want 24% of the budget to be allocated to the northern areas because that is the population we constitute of the NMB area. We also want zero-tolerance to corruption," he said.

Asked about coalition talks, Van Niekerk said: "No one has approached us, but we are expecting to have talks within this week still. There are parties we will go into coalition with. Our main demand is putting people of the northern areas first. If we can work around that demand and make tangible commitments, then we can do it."

By Thursday morning, it was clear there would not be an outright winner in NMB.

Polling suggested that the DA would overtake the ANC and get around 43% of the vote. The ANC, it had been suggested, would get around 39% to 40% of the vote.

The Abantu Integrity Movement (AIM) got one seat in the council.

AIM secretary-general Gary Koekemoer said all they wanted for NMB was a stable council.

Voters in NMB
Voters in Helenvale in the northern areas of Gqeberha queuing to cast their ballot at the Hillcrest Primary School.

"All we want is sustainability, a functioning council, and a suitable municipal manager to be appointed. Our council needs to start thinking of its sustainability and delivering better roads and services to residents. For us, the stability of the council is imperative because we have been in chaos for years," he said.

The City had recent experience with coalition governments which had proven to be tumultuous.

READ | DA-ANC coalitions? Holomisa says Ramaphosa should invite Zille to 'work together'

In 2016, the DA got 47% of the vote, and the ANC 41%. The DA won 57 seats in the 120-seat council in the 2016 elections, as opposed to the ANC's 50.

The DA formed a coalition with the ACDP (one seat), COPE (one seat), and the UDM (two seats) to obtain an outright majority. Other parties in the council were the EFF (six seats), Patriotic Alliance (one seat), African Independent Congress (one seat), and the United Front of the Eastern Cape (one seat).

Ruphos Thabang Mphahlele from the Defenders of the People (DOP) said they would not use their two seats to form a coalition with the ANC or DA.

"We want to be on our own. We want nothing to do with the corrupt ANC or DA. We will be in council fighting our fight. The DOP will be perfectly fine on its own," he said.

Stay updated with News24's latest coverage, opinion and analysis of Elections 2021. Check out results from the previous municipal elections.

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