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Parties race against the clock to conclude coalition negotiations in Cape’s hung councils

How voting played out in in Cosovo Informal Settlement in Samora Machel in the 2021 municipal elections. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

How voting played out in in Cosovo Informal Settlement in Samora Machel in the 2021 municipal elections. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 16, 2021


Cape Town - Political parties are racing against the clock as they try to meet the November 23 deadline to conclude coalition negotiations in the Western Cape’s hung councils.

Western Cape Provincial electoral officer Michael Hendrickse has said that all councils must be formed within 14 days of the gazetted list of councillors that was published last Tuesday.

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Asked whether failing to meet the deadline could lead to by-elections he said: “No, failing to meet the 14-day deadline does not create by-elections.”

So far only two of the 15 – Cederberg and Laingsburg municipalities – have successfully concluded their coalition talks.

The Cederberg settlement saw the DA, Freedom Front Plus and Cederberg First Residents Association enter a deal that locked the ANC, which won four seats out of the council’s governance.

Earlier on Tuesday, DA leader John Steenhuisen also provided an update on developments regarding the party’s ongoing coalition talks with other political parties. Steenhuisen was joined by DA Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille and DA national spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube.

EFF leader Julius Malema also provide an insight into how the party’s coalition talks were going.

Meanwhile, in Laingsburg, the ANC formed a coalition with the Patriotic Alliance, the Karoo Gemeenskap Party and the Karoo Democratic Force, leaving the DA out in the cold.

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ANC provincial spokesperson Sifiso Mtsweni said: “On November 16, the Prince Albert Municipal Council will have its sitting and on Wednesday the Beaufort West Municipality.

“In both these municipalities, working together with our coalition partners, we will constitute the councils as per the agreements reached. As soon as the municipalities have met, the Central Karoo District Municipal Council will convene.

“The coalitions agreements are based on principled commitment by partners to ensure service delivery, good governance, redress in favour of the poor, accountability of officials, anti-corruption and stability,” said Mtsweni.

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Asked how any negotiations they are involved in, EFF spokesperson Leigh-Anne Matthyse said: “We are not commenting on coalition negotiations until the team have concluded and given the report. We will definitely brief the media on the outcomes once concluded.”

Local government expert Paul Kariuki said that while coalitions were welcome, they would not work unless there were some aspects in place first.

“They must be premised upon workable agreements. Partners must agree on shared values and principles to guide their coalition arrangement.

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“All these agreements must be made public for their electorate to know what their parties are committing to and so that they can be held accountable throughout the coalition governing period,” Kariuki said.

However, Webber Wentzel attorney Michael Evans, who specialises in local government matters, said coalitions were entirely unnecessary.

He said the Local Government Municipal Structures Act provided for the collective executive system, which was far more geared towards co-operation between political parties and service delivery.

“It will also lessen the influence of those small parties which got limited support in the election, but which can become king-makers in coalition negotiations,” he said.

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Cape Argus