LOOK: We won’t govern with a gun held against our heads, says DA leader John Steenhuisen
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Johannesburg - The DA is reaching out to other parties as they try to establish majority coalitions in hung councils, saysJohn Steenhuisen, adding that that is critical if they want to create stable governments that are able to best serve residents.
The DA leader was speaking during a press briefing at the inaugural DA mayors governance training workshop in Nkululeko House in Bruma, Joburg, where mayors from municipalities across the country outlined governance plans for the next five years.
“I also want to point out that our talks with other parties that haven’t signed coalition agreements are still ongoing. We are reaching out to these parties as we try to establish majority coalitions in these hung councils,” Steenhuisen said.
He said that in a place like Johannesburg, the DA had started reaching out and talking to parties which they believe could be on board with it and form a majority.
Video: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency
Steenhuisen said it was the same in Tshwane but would be difficult in Ekurhuleni because the potential partnership pool was a lot smaller.
He said the DA wanted stability and a majority government that did not have to dance to the tune of someone else. That would give mayors an opportunity to develop medium- and long-term plans outside the short-term planning that needed to be done.
“Where we can't, we will try to run those governments. I have been very clear that we are not going to govern with a gun against our head. it is not possible to govern effectively if you have a gun against your head.
“Every single person here who is in that situation understands clearly that as much as we are prepared to serve and make these governments work, if we end up with a situation where we have to portray our principles in order to keep those governments in place, we will be quite happy to go back to opposition benches. No one is going to dictate to us our principles to guide us.
“The EFF will be players in these municipalities and I have said the DA’s doors are not closed to any party which comes up with a good idea to address poverty, deal with infrastructure backlogs. They will be just as entitled like any other party in a council that will put forward good ideas. There is no party in this country that has a monopoly of good ideas. We have committed to be a listening party that listens to all good ideas.”
Steenhuisen said the challenges before the mayors differed considerably. The municipalities ranged from settled four-term DA governance, to first-time DA governance including some hung municipalities.
He said 12 of the municipalities had the outright DA majority while 15 of them either had a multiparty coalition or a majority government of which the DA is the biggest party.
Video: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)
“This is why our coalition negotiations for the past weeks have been important, because we need to hit the ground running in all these municipalities.”