Opposition parties met in Sandton on Friday to hammer out a deal to keep the ANC out of assuming control in key metros.
The Democratic Alliance (DA), ActionSA, the Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Cope met to find a way forward.
No deal has been done yet, but the parties committed to continue through the weekend. Parties in hung councils have until Tuesday to meet and elect a mayor and speaker.
Joburg’s newly elected council debuts on Monday and a question mark hangs over the relationship between the DA and former mayor Herman Mashaba.
The ActionSA leader told Saturday Citizen he has no ambition to don the city’s chain, but that his focus remains to keep the ANC out.
Mashaba was also not optimistic about garnering DA support for him to become mayor.
In a joint statement, the parties said: “The discussions were constructive, and the parties agreed that in the interest of the future of South Africa it is important to form stable governments which are serious about service delivery
and arresting the decay of local government,”
The parties met on 15 November and, prior to Friday’s meeting, rumours of Mashaba running Joburg in exchange for a DA mayorship in Tshwane were rife.
But DA leader John Steenhuisen denied this on Thursday, calling any kind of deal “fake news”.
The joint statement said in Tshwane the parties agreed to support the DA’s mayoral candidate and form a coalition government, but it was mum on Joburg, simply saying the parties will focus to keep the ANC out and form a minority government.
Russel Crystal, political commentator and former deputy executive director of the DA, said: “On the basis of the statement one can assume that the other opposition parties have agreed to support Mashaba, and DA is the only one that has not. Of course, without the DA, Mashaba could not even form a minority government.”
He added that “based on the statement, it looks like the DA will put up a candidate against Mashaba, should he be nominated by ActionSA and other parties.”
The joint statement also read: “The DA took a principal decision at their federal executive that where they secured the majority of votes among opposition parties, they will put forward their mayoral candidate.”
Steenhuisen confirmed the decision on next steps for the party lies with its executive.