Durban - In a major climbdown, the IFP says it has reached an arrangement with the ANC to allow it to form a government where it holds majority seats, and likewise, the governing party must allow it to do so undisturbed.
Confusingly so, while the arrangement has all the hallmarks of a coalition government, IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said this is meant to ensure stability in municipalities.
Addressing the media in Durban on Wednesday following talks, Hlabisa said that after speaking to all parties that wanted to speak to them about coalition arrangements, they opted for this consensus.
Two weeks ago, the IFP was adamant that it was not going to work with the ANC in any way and allow it back to power via a back door in KwaZulu-Natal.
Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics
“The IFP believes in respecting the democratic will of South Africa’s voters. We also believe, as I said, in prioritising stability in governance ahead of political power. We are in politics to serve the will and the interests of the people.
“We decided, therefore, to approach governance in hung municipalities not on the basis of how much power we can take through uncertain coalitions, but on the basis of a principle: the principle that the electorate is entitled to get the government it chooses through the ballot box,” Hlabisa said.
BREAKING: In a major climb down, the IFP has agreed to allow the ANC to take over in municipalities where it holds majority seats. Likewise, the ANC will allow the IFP to lead where it has majority seats. IFP President, Velenkosini Hlabisa, says this is a not a coalition. @IOL pic.twitter.com/gDISoeljpY— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) November 17, 2021
Hlabisa added that it was clear that in KwaZulu-Natal, voters in each municipality predominantly chose either the IFP or the ANC, with the exception of uMngeni (Howick), where the DA was the majority choice.
He stressed that it was for that reason the arrangement came into being and their councillors would not be fielded in municipalities where the ANC has an upper hand.
“Despite there not being an outright majority in some municipalities, either the IFP gained the most seats or the ANC did. Thus, after frank discussions at national level with the ANC, we have come to a broad understanding that where the IFP has the most seats, despite no outright majority, the IFP will form the municipal government. Reciprocally, where the ANC has the most seats, despite no outright majority, the ANC will form the municipal government.
“Neither party will interfere in this process, and will support the principle of the two largest parties becoming the government and official opposition, respectively. Accordingly, where the IFP governs, the ANC will become the official opposition, and vice versa,” he said.
Together with the IFP’s national spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, and treasurer, Narend Singh, he was at pains to explain the rationale behind their decision.
“We will therefore remain opponents; but opponents who have agreed to operate on the same principle for the sake of securing stability in local governance and affording our people service delivery. It goes without saying that this is not a coalition. A coalition places both parties in power, with a sharing of positions. What we are doing is allowing the party with the most votes to govern, while the other party is relegated to the opposition,” he said.