DA adamant no unprincipled concessions will be made to gratify parties who voted with it

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  • DA leader John Steenhuisen says his party's candidates being elected the mayors of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni has come as a surprise to him.
  • He says the fact that parties voted for the DA without any promises being made to them, means they ought not to expect any concessions going forward.
  • Steenhuisen says parties should build to deliver further defeats to the ANC come the 2024 national elections.

The DA said even though it was forced into multiparty coalition governments in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni on Monday when smaller parties voted with it to freeze out the ANC, it will not make any unprincipled concessions to please its partners.

Briefing the public on Tuesday following the election of DA mayors in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni on Monday, DA leader John Steenhuisen said the assistance received from smaller parties came as a surprise even to his party.

"We did not expect what happened yesterday, Monday. But what we want to make clear is that we did not ask for assistance from the EFF, and we are not sitting here clinging to power at all cost.

"We vow to ensure that we keep to the promises that we made leading up to the elections. We are under no illusion of the stability of these governments. What this means is that they may very well be short-lived," said Steenhuisen.

READ New political era: DA reaps the rewards as opposition parties kick ANC to the curb

The DA leader said all his party could do was to hold firm to its principles, which was what he claimed they had done throughout the elections campaign, coalition negotiations and right up to Monday's council votes. 

"We came under enormous pressure but we didn't move from our principles. We made it very clear that we would rather remain in opposition than put ourselves in a compromising situation, in an unstable or paralysis minority government.

"None of this has changed. The EFF and ActionSA's support of our candidates came with no strings attached," said Steenhuisen.

The DA leader added that anyone who voted for the DA candidates did so knowing that his party would not allow a gun to be held to their head in this arrangement.

READ | Despite having no coalition agreement, the DA scores surprise mayorship of Joburg

Steenhuisen said more significant was the psychological threshold crossed on Monday, which he said meant the whole of South Africa now believed the ANC could be beaten.

"We no longer live in a single-party democracy, and that is a watershed moment in our history," said Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen admitted that he was well aware of the mammoth task facing the DA in the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metros.

He said beyond overcoming the possibility of an unstable partnership, the new administrations faced depleted budgets, poor revenue collection, infrastructure decay and huge service delivery backlogs in these metros.

"It should become clear that none of these cities can be turned around overnight, especially if we cannot ensure stability in this complex minority coalitions," said the DA leader.

READ | DA hangs on to 4 councils in the Western Cape with a little help from its friends, and the EFF

While acknowledging the tough task ahead, the DA leader said he was encouraged that his party had managed difficult coalition governments before. He said he had no doubt that this would be the case again.

In an attempt to bring stability, his party would make it known if and when parties deliberately frustrated the DA's efforts to turn around the two metros, Steenhuisen said.

He added:

We would make it publicly known which parties are obstructing our efforts toward achieving good governance and pro-poor governance.

He said to ensure the stability of the administrations, the DA would approach parties that were currently not part of their agreement and make a case for them to join forces.

The removal of the ANC could not come at a more opportune time, said Steenhuisen.

"Given that there is only less than three years to the next national and provincial elections, it presents a rare chance for parties to usher in an ANC-free era for these metros come 2024.

"This is going to require maturity, cooperation and selfless service from all parties involved. Not a game of political chess or checkers, as some have called it," said the DA leader.

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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