The Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF’s) list of demands for entering into coalition agreements with other parties are unrealistic and not practical for the functioning of municipalities.
That is the view of political analyst Dale McKinley, who says the Red Berets’ coalition demands for land, the establishment of a state bank and the removal of Die Stem from the national anthem – among other demands – are likely to be the biggest stumbling blog for the EFF’s coalition negotiation team, led by its deputy president Floyd Shivambu.
“I think they were political manoeuvres on the EFF’s part to gain support in the electoral process, which is understandable… A lot of their demands are sort of ideological policy positions that go way beyond even the local level of government,” McKinley told The Citizen.
While the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and ActionSA have all ruled out working with the ANC to form coalition governments in the country’s 66 hung councils, McKinley said the possibility of the ANC and EFF coming together in some municipalities was likely.
But he said the EFF would need to make compromises on their coalition demands because the ANC was unlikely to accede to all of them.
“It’s seriously doubtful whether the EFF, if they go into a coalition with the ANC or anybody else, that they will be able to meet all those conditions. If they do not meet them, then they are going to disappoint their supporters,” McKinley said.
Among their conditions for a coalition, the EFF has demanded being handed a municipality to govern, in exchange for helping any party to get into power, and also the appointment of its own cadres in key positions.
The EFF has also demanded the amendment of the Constitution within six months to allow for expropriation of land without compensation and the creation of a state bank within 12 months – which the ANC is unable to implement.
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McKinley said the EFF would be shooting itself in the foot ahead of the 2024 general elections if the ANC agrees to coalitions with them, but does not implement their demands.
He said this would disappoint a lot of the EFF’s supporters because of the expectation that has already been created by the party.
“This is the problem with the EFF, they make so many promises and if they don’t do it, then this time their supporters will feel very let down.
“But my sense is that it really doesn’t matter who the EFF goes into coalition with, they are going to have to compromise and change. If they don’t do that, then they are going to lose further support because they are going to get into coalitions, which they are going to be party to decisions made, which their supporters might not like,” McKinley said.
He said part of the EFF’s challenges with their coalition demands is that they are policy issues that usually take time to implement.
“These things take time and they take changes in administration and policy at a local level… and the EFF would have to manage that expectation as well.”
McKinley also doubted the public pronouncements made by the DA, ActionSA, the FF+ and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) – that they would not work with the ANC at all.
He said this was unlikely to be the case in all the 66 hung municipal councils.
“Coalition politics is precisely about changing your position. If there could be a situation where the ANC feels better for them politically and practically to go into a coalition with the EFF as opposed to, for example, the DA and the IFP, then there might be quite a lot of political pressure to move in that direction. At this stage, nothing is off the table,” he said.