‘Coalition is like marriage’: IFP’s Velenkosini Hlabisa calls for maturity in Gauteng Cabinet negotiations

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Velenkosini Hlabisa has appealed for the resolution of the political impasse rocking Gauteng. File Picture: Jonisayi Maromo / IOL

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Velenkosini Hlabisa has appealed for the resolution of the political impasse rocking Gauteng. File Picture: Jonisayi Maromo / IOL

Published Jul 3, 2024


Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) president Velenkosini Hlabisa has appealed for the speedily resolution of the political impasse rocking the province of Gauteng, following a deadlock between the provincial African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province.

IOL reported on Tuesday night that the government of provincial unity negotiations between the ANC and the DA have deadlocked, as the two political parties struggled to reach an agreement on position allocation in the Gauteng executive council.

However, the DA stated it remains open to further negotiation, provided the ANC treats and approaches them with respect and fairness.

In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika on Wednesday morning, Hlabisa, who was this week appointed South Africa’s Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, said Gauteng is now lagging behind due to the stalemate, and the protagonists need to realise that.

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa. File Picture: Khaya Ngwenya / Independent Newspapers

“What works in a coalition government is to have principled leaders. When they agree to work together, they don’t need a legal document to bind them, but the principle of working together is what keeps them together for the next five years. We need to assist our leaders at local government level to rise to a level of maturity,” he said.

“If you can look, Gauteng province is remaining behind. Go to KwaZulu-Natal, it is about three weeks now, the ministers and the premier are hitting the ground now. Nationally, where things were complex, ministers and deputy ministers are being sworn-in today. Gauteng is still remaining behind, why? The level of maturity on people who are involved, either at a provincial, national or local government sphere, should rise to reach a stage where the priority of putting people first becomes the norm.”

Hlabisa added that a coalition is like a marriage and it will take all parties involved for the arrangement to work.

“A coalition is like a marriage. If you are in a marriage, you keep working on the marriage, resolving whatever challenges you meet and get your family going on. People of South Africa, when they voted you to work together, you must heed that call,” he said.

The DA believes that the ANC in Gauteng, which garnered 34.7% of the provincial vote in the May 29 elections and already has the premier position, should get five MEC positions, while the DA, which secured 27.4%, should get four positions, while the IFP also gets a seat on the provincial executive.

Leader of the DA in Gauteng Solly Msimanga interacting with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

Two weeks ago, Panyaza Lesufi was re-elected Premier of Gauteng. He was elected unopposed, with the DA backing his nomination.

Squabbles between the ANC and DA in Gauteng have resulted in a deadlock, with the provincial ANC insisting Lesufi was on Monday night going to announce his provincial executives, including different political parties, but without the DA.