Durban - KwaZulu-Natal parties were at the weekend holding their cards close to their chests on coalitions to be formed in seven municipalities in the province.
While the DA confirmed being approached for negotiations by the "bigger parties", the NFP said there was no need for negotiation, as its agreement with the ANC stood.
The ANC had at the weekend indicated that it planned negotiating with all the parties, including an independent, while the IFP will decide on Monday the coalitions it will form.
It emerged that the smaller parties, the DA and EFF, were to a greater extent holding the key in the likely coalitions to be formed.
This was a different political scenario compared to the 2011 municipal elections, when the NFP was the sole king-maker in 19 hung municipalities, and chose to get into bed with the ANC as opposed to the IFP.
The elections results show that the hung municipalities where the ANC does not enjoy an outright majority are Abaqulusi, Jozini, Endumeni, eDumbe and the new Estcourt-based council arising from a merger between Mtshezi and Mbabazane.
In at least two councils, Nquthu and Mtubatuba, the IFP does not have an outright majority.
An analysis of the hung municipalities suggests that were the IFP to enter into coalition with DA and EFF, they could co-govern five councils, including Nquthu.
The ANC is guaranteed to co-govern with Al-Jama-Ah in the Estcourt municipality.
Although DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango said it was premature to talk about the coalition, he indicated that there had been engagement by the "bigger" parties.
"At no stage has there been negotiation, other than an interest to work with us," he said.
Mncwango also said their stance was to see a government that delivered services to the people, and not preoccupation with positions.
"If we can agree to form coalitions, there should be mutual agreement. If we are able to do that, that is the basis of engagement."
Mncwango also said there could be no blanket approach to all the hung municipalities, as it depended on their individual conditions.
"We are to look at it case by case. We are to engage nationally, and after today (Monday) we will know what will happen," he said.
NFP acting chairman, Bheki Gumbi, said if there were to be coalition negotiations on Nquthu, the ruling party would be their preferred partner."It is clear to us that we are with the ANC," Gumbi said.
He, however, said depending who the EFF and DA supported, his party could not swing their vote to between ANC and IFP.
"We don't have numbers on our side, so the DA and EFF are the ones who will make a difference," Gumbi added.
IFP spokesman Joshua Mazibuko said the national leadership would hold its meeting today (Monday) to discuss the coalitions in the affected municipalities.
KZN ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala told media on Saturday that they were not going to enter into coalition for strategic alliances. "It is going to be a tactical agreement of working together for now. We are to talk to all of them, even if an independent was expelled," Zikalala said.
EFF deputy chairman Jackie Shandu said they had not been approached by any party at the provincial level.
Shandu said the EFF national leadership had outlined the process to form coalitions should be based on commitment on the issues they had campaigned for in the poll.
University of KZN political science lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said it would be advisable for small parties to form coalitions with parties with the most votes.
"That will suggest that they will be leaning to the will of the people," Ndlovu said.
He also said the EFF presence in the equation made for interesting reading.
"Any party that joins with them will take a huge risk. It does not have experience of governing. The way they conduct themselves in Parliament may pose a question of whether they are to be trusted as responsible. It has been shown to have no respect and their conduct leaves much to be desired," Ndlovu said.