The DA plans to put forward its own Johannesburg mayoral candidate on Monday, saying that putting ActionSA in charge of a Johannesburg minority government would put the coalition at the mercy of the EFF.
The party’s backing Mashaba, however, says the DA risks putting the ANC in power through their decision.
In a statement released on Saturday, DA leader John Steenhuisen said the proposal that the DA should head up the Tshwane coalition, while ActionSA leads the coalition of opposition parties in Joburg is not as simple as the statement released by ActionSA and other parties on Friday makes it sound.
“The reality is much more complex,” Steenhuisen said.
“Essentially, what we are being asked to do in Johannesburg, is what we did before. We’re being asked to put ActionSA at the head of a minority government that is dependent on the EFF to get 50% plus one of the votes.”
This, he said, would mean the coalition is subject to the whims of the Red Berets, and a mistake the party says they don’t want to repeat, following the chaotic coalitions which followed the 2016 elections.
The DA had put together opposition coalitions in Johannesburg and Tshwane, but since the EFF had elected to remain outside the coalitions, they failed to get 50% representation in either. The EFF promised to support them on a case-by-case basis, dependent on whether they agree with their positions on specific matters.
“This resulted in chaotic, unstable governments in which smaller parties switched sides and power kept changing hands,” said Steenhuisen.
“In Johannesburg, in particular, Herman Mashaba (who was still a DA Mayor) understood that in order to remain Mayor, he had to dance to the EFF’s tune. Even Julius Malema acknowledged that Herman became the EFF’s mayor. That may have been a bonus for the EFF, but it was disastrous for everyone else.”
Steenhuisen said the difference now is that they are able to form a coalition with a clear majority in Tshwane, without relying on the EFF, but this doesn’t apply to Joburg.
“Essentially, what we are being asked to do in Johannesburg is what we did before: We are being asked to put Action SA at the head of a minority government that is dependent on the EFF to get 50% plus one of the votes.”
Steenhuisen said that as a demonstration of their commitment not to get into bed with the EFF, the DA will on Monday present Mpho Phalatse as its candidate for Johannesburg’s mayor at the inaugural council meeting, and Randall Williams on Tuesday for the Tshwane mayoral job.
In response to the DA’s statement, the other members of the would-be coalition released their own statement, saying the DA’s decision “puts successful coalitions at risk.”
“The multi-party group has no understanding of the DA’s intentions from this point on. It would seem that the DA will proceed to Council meetings next week without formal agreements with coalition partners that offer any comfort to the residents of these municipalities,” their statement reads.
“As a group, the multi-party group calls upon the DA to honour its commitment to keep the ANC out of these municipalities by engaging with potential coalition partners in good faith.
“The multi-party group believes that it is of utmost importance and in the best interest of the electorate to keep the ANC out of government.”
- Compiled by Earl Coetzee