Deputy President Paul Mashatile has called on political parties to make submissions on a framework to govern coalitions ahead of the national elections next year.
He said it has been three months since parties agreed to make submissions, but very few have been able to do so.
Mashatile had convened a National Dialogue on coalitions in Cape Town in August, where they agreed on a framework for coalitions.
Mashatile, who was answering questions in Parliament on Thursday, said they need to finalise the report that will be submitted to Parliament.
This would have to be done before the elections. The deputy president said if parties make submissions to his office before the end of the year, they can table the consolidated report in Parliament sooner.
Mashatile said the framework was not aimed at next year’s national elections but also at municipalities where there were unstable coalition governments.
In Gauteng, the metros have had different mayors over the last two years.
In Johannesburg, there have been three mayors since 2021. In Ekurhuleni, there have been two mayors. In Tshwane, there have been three years during the same period.
Mashatile said the framework for coalitions would be able to bring stability to fragile coalitions across the country.
“The sooner we finalise the framework, the better. I know during the debate at the National Dialogue there was an issue of whether we want the legislation in this regard, and others were saying not necessarily the framework is enough. There was also concern about whether you want to rush the framework because you anticipate that in the coming elections in 2024 there will be a need for a coalition. We kept saying not necessarily. But there is a reality on the ground in municipalities where this framework is needed,” said Mashatile.
He called on political parties to make submissions soon. This would help them start putting together a consolidated report that will be tabled in Parliament.
“We urge all political parties to submit as agreed so that we can then consolidate that report, prepare it, and submit it to Parliament before the end of this term. In that way, we would have concluded our work properly,”’ said Mashatile.
After the 2016 local government elections, the country was not prepared for coalitions. The number of coalitions has increased since then. In the last local government elections in 2021, there were more than 82 hung municipalities.
“It is true that when we started in 2016 with municipalities, we were unprepared for coalitions. We didn’t have a framework. At the very least, each party had its own. I think now we all have come to the realisation that we do need a framework. Should there be a need for legislation, that will be considered in the near future. But at the very least, I think we should have a framework concluded as soon as possible. My office will remind all political parties to come on board so that we can do a consolidation of that report,” said Mashatile.
He said he would write to political parties to remind them to make submissions because time was running out.
They need to get the ball rolling and prepare a report that will have to go through Parliament before the elections.