Coalition talks to resume after watershed SA elections


On the left is the African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa with opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Commander-In-Chief, Julius Malema

Executive Editor
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – GOVERNANCE in South Africa’s municipalities has been chaotic since the advent of coalition governments after the African National Congress (ANC) lost elections in the major urban councils years ago.

This has sparked uncertainty in the country now that the ANC has lost its majority rule in the National Assembly. It remains to be seen therefore how the next government will work, amid the chaos witnessed in the cities when parties are in coalition.

That dates back to the 2016 municipal elections where in most municipalities, none of the parties attained a majority.

Fallouts usually characterize the rival parties. Local chambers are at times battlefields as members of the parties engage in fist fights. Instability set in as mayors are slapped with votes of no confidence at the drop of a hat.

Service delivery thus came to a standstill. Examples of these are Johannesburg, the commercial hub, Ekurhuleni and the capital, Pretoria.

Against the backdrop of this, the country has entered into unchartered political waters as the main political parties begin what is set to be tense negotiations ahead of the coalition governments.

This is because of the enmity among some party leaders, differing policies as well as the just-ended elections whose outcomes some parties rejected as rigged.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) went ahead to announce the results on Sunday evening.

ANC secured 40,24% of the vote, the first time it has dropped to less than 50 percent since independence in 1994. The Democratic Alliance (DA) scored 21,74 percent while the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) of former president, Jacob Zuma, attained 14,61 percent.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had 9,84 percent and the Inkatha Freedom (IFP) 4,35 percent.

In the National Assembly, ANC will have 159 seats, the DA 87 seats, MK 58 seats, EFF 39 seats and the IFP 17.

These are the main parties but 36 parties secured seats.

A race against time has ensued as Parliament’s first sitting must be in 14 days since the announcement of the results.

Parliamentarians will then elect a President and Speaker.

This has paved the way for negotiations for coalitions.

Some scenarios are tricky.

Already, the fallout between Rampahosa and Zuma have come to the fore. Firstly, Zuma has been suspended from ANC and Ramphosa’s government, which was accused of “capturing” the judiciary, barred Zuma from contesting, citing his brief jailing in 2021 for contempt of court.

Negotiations between the ANC and MK seem far-fetched after Zuma rejected the outcome of the poll amid claims by the new party that it won a majority.

Another fallout comes under Gwede Mantashe, ANC chairperson, attributed MK’s performance to “Zulu tribalism”. This is in reference to Zuma’s support base being Zulu, who are a majority in South Africa.

It has been reported the MK can only negotiate with ANC if Ramaphosa steps down as party leader.

Fikile Mbalula, ANC Secretary General, vehemently rejected such demands. “That is a no-go area,” Mbalula said.

Most policies of the MK and ANC are similar, based on transforming the economy and empowering blacks in a country where the minority whites still control the economy and means of production.

EFF also campaigns for such and in a radical stance.

“A coalition between ANC and EFF is likelier than between ANC and MK,” said an analyst.

Julius Malema, leader, has said, “MK and us are relatives. We are together.”

“If they don’t want to work with the ANC, there is no problem. We will work with them and work with the ANC.”

The DA has forecast “doom” in the event of such a coalition.

“DA will make it our number one priority – and do absolutely everything in our power – to prevent an ANC-EFF Doomsday Coalition from taking power.”

DA, accused of protecting the interests of the whites, is against the expropriation of land without compensation as well as nationalization of banks.

Meanwhile, as part of negotiations, EFF wants to be given the Finance ministry. The smaller Patriotic Alliance (PA) wants Home Affairs. PA is advocating for the mass deportation of undocumented migrants.

This is the least of South Africa’s problems, the country of over 60 million people bedevilled by economic malaise, high unemployment, high crime rate, corruption that has cost the ANC its majority, inequality, power and water outages as well as and mired in geopolitical crises.

– CAJ News

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