Opposition parties punt coalitions if ANC misses boat in local elections
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By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
Political parties are opposing the application by the ANC for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to reopen the registration of candidates for local government elections.
The DA, Cope and ACDP said on Saturday if the ANC failed in its bid in the Electoral Court, this would change the face of local government and allow other parties to contest in the more than 30 municipalities without the ANC, after many years.
But UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has said he will join the ANC as a friend of the court.
“The IEC’s timetable was unrealistic to start off with. We objected, we were ignored. Capturing candidates was a disastrous process for the UDM. We pleaded for time, we were refused. We will join as friends of the court as ANC goes to Electoral Court to reopen the capturing,” said Holomisa.
UWC political analyst, Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said if the ANC was not allowed to contest elections in the 30 municipalities it would force parties to get into coalitions.
However, the other factor could be voter apathy, which will make it difficult for parties to govern those municipalities.
DA representative in the IEC, Werner Horn said the IEC should not allow the ANC to change the rulebook.
The IEC had in the past prevented the IFP and the National Freedom Party from contesting the elections in 2011 and 2016 respectively after they failed to meet certain conditions for the elections.
“The IEC cannot bend to the will of the ANC and must therefore oppose this frivolous application,” said Horn.
ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said should the ANC’s application fail, it would be a blessing in disguise for the voters in the 30 municipalities.
“Actually, what the ANC is doing now is a blessing in disguise for all political parties. It will be a great opportunity for smaller parties.
“For coalitions it will be easier for smaller parties. It will work better without the ANC. I don’t think it will be difficult for smaller parties to form coalitions,” said Meshoe.
Cope national spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the absence of the ANC in the polls would bring change in local government.
“If the ANC does not succeed in the Electoral Court there will be coalitions in municipalities. It will change the face of local government if the Electoral Court rejects their application because they won’t participate in the elections. All municipalities have collapsed because of corruption, incompetence and cadre deployment,” said Bloem.
Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said if the ANC does not succeed in court it would allow either the DA or EFF to take over in these municipalities. He said they would not have a majority and this would force them into coalitions with other smaller parties.
“From where I am standing, in the event the Electoral Court does not rule in favour of the ANC it would allow the DA or EFF to take over. If the DA and EFF will compete with each other they will not have a majority, whoever wins will form a coalition with smaller parties,” said Mngomezulu.
“As far as the general electorate, I foresee voter apathy, in the event the ANC does not have any candidates they would rather not vote.
“In Africa we are not ready for these coalitions, that would mean that coalitions would have a short lifespan,” he added.