Listening to the demands made by the parties in coalition talks, the impression is given that voters voted for everyone, resulting in everyone winning, writes Ralph Mathekga.
Since the local government elections two weeks ago, political parties have been scrambling to form coalitions across undecided municipalities ahead of next week's deadline to have all municipalities constituted. The talks have had a rough start, with many parties trading ultimatums and making it clear which parties they do not entertain working with. It is not surprising to see coalitions talks revealing a deep-seated lack of trust among South Africa's political parties.
There is a coalition conundrum. Political parties that seem to have gained moral legitimacy in society do not have enough votes to form councils on their own or are too small to influence the formation of coalitions significantly. On the other hand, there are political parties that have attained a higher number of votes in the election, which place them in a position to influence which way coalitions will be formed - yet such parties lack the moral basis to exert its electoral hand and influence coalitions. The ANC is such a party. Potential coalition suitors see it as a liability, despite the advantage it brings to the table, as it has the numbers to form a coalition government easily.