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DA-IFP KZN co-operation pact could be blueprint for coalition talks

The leaders of the two parties hold the agreement between them with their parties’ banners behind them.

IFP KZN chairperson Thami Ntuli and DA provincial chairperson Dean Macpherson with the service delivery pact that they signed in July this year. File Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 15, 2023


Durban - The DA and IFP in KwaZulu-Natal believe the work being done on their co-operation pact may pave the way for a coalition agreement after next year’s national general elections.

This is the latest move in a partnership that has seen the parties co-govern in hung municipalities and not contest each other during by-elections where one party has a greater chance of winning.

Last month, the parties signed a service delivery pact in the province to ensure that they “work together to improve service delivery and better the lives of residents”.

The strategic collaboration between the parties resulted in the DA’s Christo Botha being appointed the City of uMhlathuze’s deputy mayor to work with IFP mayor Xolani Ngwezi.

This comes as national discussions to negotiate a pre-election agreement ahead of next year’s election are to take place from tomorrow with the DA, IFP, FF Plus, ActionSA, UIM, SNP, and Independent South African National Civic Organisation (Isanco) involved.

Speaking on the DA and IFP co-operation, DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers said this was a prime example of a co-operation pact. The plan was to look at next year’s election, in terms of percentage of votes and support, and then only look at coalition agreements.

IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli, speaking about the importance of the co-operation pact, had said both parties were aware that time was of the essence ahead of the elections.

The ANC in the province has taken a stance that it will not need a coalition government in KZN after the 2024 general and provincial elections.

Last week, ANC KZN secretary Bheki Mtolo said to unseat the ANC in KZN, the two biggest opposition parties would need a 100% increase in voter support.

In the 2021 local government elections the ANC received 41.4% of the provincial vote, the IFP 24.3% and the DA 12.9%, resulting in hung municipalities in the province, including in eThekwini Metro.

ANC provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma said coalition governance had contributed to the collapse of service delivery at local government level.

He said the KZN ANC supported the mother body’s initiative to develop a framework that guides coalitions in local government.

“The national leadership agrees with us when we say we will campaign for a resounding victory in the 2024 elections. We want KZN to contribute significantly towards national numbers.”

DA federal leader, John Steenhuisen, yesterday said this week’s national convention came as a result of the leaders of the parties involved having met every week.

“This past week, Isanco became the seventh party to announce that it will attend the convention. The DA regards Isanco’s decision to join us as a major breakthrough …it was previously part of the ANC alliance and broke away from the alliance in 2021 because of the ANC’s failure to address the deep-rooted corruption that is tearing our country apart.

“In the 2021 elections, this newly-formed party won 14 council seats in former ANC strongholds.”

Steenhuisen insisted that the national convention was not “an anti-ANC project”.

“It must be a pro-South African project, that tables real solutions to the urgent problems our country faces,” said Steenhuisen, adding that the IFP had led from the front on the project.

“Mr (Velenkosini) Hlabisa has been a pillar of strength in our negotiations.”

Political analyst Dr Fikile Vilakazi said the DA would not be able to help the IFP achieve a majority in KZN if it did not align itself with the latter’s stance on issues such as former president Jacob Zuma, the Shembe church, the Zulu royal family and the politics of racism. “The pact between the parties has always been about increasing the footprint of the DA. The issues in the monarchy have the potential for division towards 2024 and the DA has to take a stance similar to the IFP, on what is a thorny issue.

“The DA remaining silent on this issue is a problem for the IFP that wants to regain the support in stronghold areas that had been taken by the ANC.”