Opposition leaders met in Joburg on Wednesday to assess their working relationship in the country’s economic hub, Johannesburg, the capital city Tshwane and the Eastern Cape’s biggest metro, Nelson Mandela Bay.
The UDM has been at loggerheads with fellow coalition partners over broken-down relations between the DA’s Nelson Mandela Bay Metro mayor Athol Trollip and the UDM’s axed deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani.
The DA and Cope launched a blistering attack on Bobani, accusing him of consistently voting with the ANC and sabotaging the coalition, the reason they removed him as deputy mayor in the metro.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane slammed Bobani.
“You cannot say you are in a coalition with someone who votes against the coalition. Going forward, we must be resolute that you cannot violate the coalition agreement,” Maimane said.
Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota accused Bobani of deliberately sabotaging the coalition in the Eastern Cape metro by breaking agreements made by coalition partners.
“This problem of coalition is only peculiar to the Nelson Mandela Bay. There was a decision made by coalition partners that there would be no need for blue lights by leaders, and even the mayor (Trollip) does not use the blue lights.
“Bobani was party to the meeting that decided that, but he then decided he would use the blue lights and now we must say ‘Yes Baas’,” said Lekota.
But Holomisa, who was conspicuous by his absence at the meeting, hit back, accusing the DA and other parties of being hypocritical as they did not act against Trollip, who he said also violated the coalition pact.
“There was a report that was done by the coalition partners which found both Bobani and Trollip to have violated the agreement. Why did they not act against Trollip? There is no possibility of working with the UDM if you have big brother tendencies like the DA does,” Holomisa said.
He said Maimane claimed that there was prima facie evidence of corruption against Bobani but failed to produce it.
“I have repeatedly asked them not to keep this evidence in their briefcases but to produce it for the public, and they have failed. Even in terms of voting, we are an independent party and Bobani’s constituency still uses the bucket system, so he cannot vote for the budget that does not prioritise the needs of his constituency,” he said.
“That is not voting with the ANC as they claim.”
Maimane, however, expressed confidence that the opposition parties would successfully dislodge the ANC through a coalition in 2019.
He said the ANC’s prospects of retaining power in 2019 would not be improved by its upcoming national elective conference, regardless of which leader wins.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma are currently neck and neck in a tightly contested race to succeed President Jacob Zuma.
While Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign has focused on rooting out corruption and growing the country’s ailing economy, Dlamini Zuma has focussed on radical economic transformation and the restructuring of the economy.
Maimane said the parties believed that coalition governments were the future of the country’s governance.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said the ANC was a corrupt party destined for a battering at the polls as South Africans were increasingly expressing their disillusion with it.
“It does not matter what the ANC does, the party is corrupt to the core and South Africans will remove it. It also does not matter who wins the ANC conference, it is the coalition governments that will take over,” Groenewald said.
He said no single party would get a majority in 2019, which he said would inevitably trigger the formation of coalitions at provincial and national levels.
The ANC leadership in Gauteng has admitted that it was facing the prospect of losing power in 2019 if the party failed to correct its shortcomings.
This included the election of a more morally upright leadership at the party’s crucial 54th national congress which starts next week.