It remains unclear whether the ANC will manage to hammer out a deal involving smaller parties in order to govern in the eThekwini Municipality. File picture
It remains unclear whether the ANC will manage to hammer out a deal involving smaller parties in order to govern in the eThekwini Municipality. File picture

Coalition talks for control of eThekwini Municipality still going on as deadline draws near

By Sibusiso Mboto Time of article published Nov 15, 2021

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DURBAN - WITH the deadline for the establishment of councils drawing near, it remains unclear whether the ANC will manage to hammer out a deal involving smaller parties in order to govern in the eThekwini Municipality.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said: “The negotiations are being handled at national level. So far there has not been any further updates. As far as we are concerned the negotiations are continuing.”

He added that interviews for mayoral candidates had also been concluded.

Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) leader Philani Mavundla also confirmed that negotiations to form coalitions were continuing. “Since we last spoke on Thursday the discussions have continued each day. Today we were in negotiations with the ANC, but nothing has been finalised yet. We are speaking with other parties as well,” said Mavundla. He indicated that any deal struck with the ANC would be in the interest of the people of uMvoti (Greytown) where he said the party had received massive support.

In eThekwini it was suggested that the ANC would be able to govern if they reached an agreement with the EFF after the DA and IFP declined to work with them in coalition governments.

In a video circulating on social media, EFF leader Julius Malema said on Saturday that the party was willing to enter into working agreements with other parties, but stressed they wanted to govern alone in one of the municipalities. He was speaking at the handover of a vehicle to party member and Abathembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.

He criticised ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba for refusing to enter into an arrangement with the ANC for the governance of the Johannesburg Metro.

“We do not want to co-govern, we want to do it alone, we will give the Speaker’s position away so that oversight can be conducted over our governance,” said the EFF leader, indicating the party was eyeing the Tshwane Metro.

Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu expressed scepticism over the success of coalition arrangements.

“Post-election arrangements are not sustainable, because they are not based on principle, they are more of a forced hand from the voters. Ideally parties should enter into arrangements ahead of the elections with clear agreements on how they will work with each other.”

He noted how voters had expressed their views through the ballot and how this could impact service delivery.

“Parties are well aware that they are pressured into ensuring that councils are constituted soon or face the prospect of an intervention from the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC. So the agreements reached under the circumstances will be short-lived, because they are not really based on principle but they are about meeting the deadline as prescribed by law on municipalities,” Mngomezulu continued.

He pointed out that the ANC stood to lose more than other parties, because while it had won, this had not been with a clear margin and smaller parties understood their value to the ruling party.

He added that past experiences had shown coalitions at municipal level had challenges and predicted that a similar experience awaits in future with the possibility of some municipalities collapsing after working relations among coalition partners had soured.

Electoral Commission of South Africa provincial spokesperson Thabani Ngwira indicated that councils needed to be established soon, in line with legislation. “The law states that councils need to be formed within 14 working days after the election results have been promulgated and therefore councils should be formed soon.”

THE MERCURY

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