After ruling out the ANC as a possible coalition partner in hung municipal councils, ActionSA on Tuesday revealed that it had held informal coalition talks with both the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
But ActionSA’s president Herman Mashaba, speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg, said they were not desperate to enter into coalitions.
He said his party was “happy to be in the opposition benches” if they do not find coalition partners that are willing to work with them.
“For us as ActionSA, the 2.6% voting pool that we received we don’t really take it for granted. We are here as the servants of the 2.4 million people who voted for us,” Mashaba said.
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Mashaba said the coalition governments that emerged after the 2016 municipal elections were a disaster and his party did not want a repeat. He called on all parties that wanted to engage with ActionSA to treat them with mutual respect.
“I really want to plead with political parties wanting to engage us, please engage us showing mutual respect. I think it’s very important because we believe very strongly that the only way we can succeed is if we show mutual respect to each other,” he said.
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ActionSA’s Gauteng chairperson John Moodey, who forms part of the party’s coalition negotiations team, said they held a meeting with the DA on Friday about forming a coalition in the City of Tshwane.
Moodey said the meeting was attended by the DA’s federal council chairperson Helen Zille and her deputy, Thomas Walters.
“And that was more of a touch base type of meeting, which was very brief in as far as the actual negotiation talks are concerned,” Moodey said.
He said ActionSA’s negotiation team questioned the DA about why they left out the City of Johannesburg as part of their talks.
Moodey said he was surprised by media reports that the DA does not mind having Mashaba as the mayoral candidate for Johannesburg because this was never raised during their meeting.
Despite this, he said ActionSA remained open to further coalition talks with the official opposition party.
“Be that as it may, we remain open to communicate and discuss what is in the best interest of the people of South Africa overall, and more specifically in the municipalities that we have contested in Johannesburg and Tshwane.
“Ultimately, we want to give to the people what is just and right for them and to ensure that we have a prosperous future that is based upon stable, clean, efficient, and effective governance,” Moodey said.
Coalition talks with the EFF
Moodey said they held a meeting on Monday with the EFF’s negotiation team, but they expressed “very serious reservations” about the Red Berets’ demands for entering into coalitions with other parties.
“As a team, we have some very serious reservations about their pitch, which was forwarded to us yesterday. And also last night early in the evening, we received an electronic version of their proposed service delivery pact with us,” he said.
Moodey said they would go through the EFF’s document with a fine-tooth comb to understand their demands before continuing with talks.
Last week, the EFF released their conditions for entering into coalitions with other parties, which included land expropriation without compensation, the establishment of a state bank and the removal of Die Stem from the national anthem, among other demands.
Moodey also revealed that they held a number of telephonic conversations with a number of parties that included the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the African Independent Congress (AIC), the Congress of the People (Cope), the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the GOOD party.
“Today [Tuesday], we will be having a face-to-face meeting with the IFP as well as Cope,” he said.
91% of respondents want ActionSA in govt
Before embarking on coalitions discussions, ActionSA last week launched a public participation platform to get voters’ views on which parties ActionSA should enter into coalitions with.
The party’s national chairperson Michael Beaumont said they had engaged with all South Africans, and not just their supporters, on their coalition processes in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, as well as eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal.
Beaumont said citizens responded favourably to being engaged this way and wanted their views on coalitions to be considered.
Beaumont said 91% of respondents wanted to see ActionSA as part of government in hung municipal councils. He said most of their respondents did not have strong views about which parties ActionSA should work with.
“While South Africans would like us to unseat the ANC and deliver services, they do not hold very strong views about political parties we should work with… the actual truth is that the vast majority of correspondents do not like the political parties that are on offer to ActionSA,” he said.