The Eastern Cape ANC has admitted that its strategic coalition in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro was “not effective”.
This comes after the administration, formed after toppling former DA mayor Athol Trollip, was heavily criticised by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month.
Consisting of the ANC, United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the African Independant Congress (AIC), the coalition was formed amid heated infighting in the city council last year, with the DA accusing current mayor Mongameli Bobani of the UDM of being corrupt and claiming ANC councillor Andile Lungisa was the “backseat driver, driving Bobani’s decisions”.
ANC’s provincial leader and premier-candidate, Oscar Mabuyane, said while the situation was not ideal, the party would remain in the deal for the sake of service delivery.
Mabuyane said he agreed with Ramaphosa’s reservations. “[It’s] not that it is not working, but it is not optimal. It is not effective because you must do a lot of trade-offs among yourselves in order to arrive at a particular conclusion.
“So while we are busy trying to negotiate among ourselves, even to employ people [we] have to find consensus, which is sometimes not necessary.
“So coalition in a fledgeling democracy is not ideal, because remember that all these other parties in the coalition they are using that platform as a stepping stone for themselves.”
Trollip was less forgiving of the situation, saying it was the ANC that was to blame for the failed coalition.
“People who are currently in that coalition are led by Bobani who is the most corrupt person I have ever come across and [Lungisa] who is basically the de facto mayor.
“They are running that council and they are just doing everything with absolute impunity, whether it is illegal or corrupt.
“Their performance has been so woeful: for example, last year we received a windfall allocation from Treasury because we spent 100% of our budget. Currently, this administration has spent 33% of their budget with a month-and-a-half to go before the end of their financial year, so they’re going to forfeit what they haven’t spent. The people of NMB [Nelson Mandela Bay] will be poorer under this poor coalition.”
Mabuyane said despite internal conflicts within the ANC and the scourge of factionalism, the party was ironing out its differences, hoping to salvage majority support in tomorrow’s election.
He said he expected a slight decline from the current 75% majority in the province.
“Definitely we are expecting a decline but we will still have a majority. Anything above 60% we will be grateful.”