ANC insists party with most votes must lead coalition government

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 10, 2023


ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula maintains that the party with most of the votes should lead negotiations in forming coalition governments.

He said citizens were shortchanged when someone from a small party was in charge of a municipality.

He said the ANC will continue to engage political parties on the framework for coalitions following the National Dialogue that was held in Cape Town last weekend.

Deputy President Paul Mashatile was leading discussions on the national dialogue on coalitions.

But smaller parties raised some of the concerns on the proposals raised by the ANC and DA in the national dialogue.

One of the concerns was the threshold of 1% for parties to get a seat in parliament or in council.

The other point raised by parties was the Bill that has been drafted by the department of cooperative government.

Mbalula, who was briefing the media on Thursday, said the issue of coalitions will have to be resolved.

"The contentious issue was the question of the Bill, to then (say) how do we regulate and others were arguing against that, especially the small political parties. Of course, they have got fears that if such a Bill were to come into place, because what we are saying is that the party that wins must be the one that leads the talks for constituting government. That is a reality. Grand coalitions means that you can talk to everybody for the sake of the people and respecting the outcome of the election. Grand coalitions means you are the majority; you are voted as three, four, five parties, then form government. The current arrangement is political, where parties can gang up against the party that has won and decide who governs the city. Even the party with the smallest percentage will (get the position of) mayor, and citizens will ask why so and so is the mayor. He is the mayor because of the outcome of negotiations and discussions. It’s not regulated," said Mbalula.

He said this was a matter that would have to be sorted out during this process of national dialogue.

But the ANC was in favour of a party that has obtained most of the votes to lead negotiations in forming a coalition government.

He said coalitions have not worked in South Africa.

This has led to unstable governments in municipalities since the last elections.

But for the future of coalitions to be resolved, it would need all parties to reach consensus on it.

He said even the Constitution of the country was the result of negotiations and consensus.

The same situation must be applied here in trying to find a solution to the issue of coalitions.

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