News / South Africa / Politics

Gareth Cotterell
Digital News Editor
2 minute read
23 Nov 2021
11:57 am

DA’s Zille tempers celebrations as coalition governments are ‘vulnerable’

Gareth Cotterell

Helen Zille says the DA is prepared to walk away from coalitions if deals cannot be made.

DA federal council chair Helen Zille during the council meeting to elect a new speaker and mayor at the Brixton community centre on 22 November 2021. Picture: Neil McCartney

The DA’s federal council chairperson Helen Zille says she is not celebrating too much after her party won the mayorship in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, acknowledging the difficulty they will face working in the coalitions.

In particular, Zille said the support it received from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was unexpected and a “double-edged sword”.

Coalition difficulties

“Unless we can put together solid majority coalitions, our governments are going to be extremely vulnerable and we could even live from council meeting to council meeting,” Zille told 702’s Bongani Bingwa.

“You need 50% plus one to pass budgets, to pass by-laws, to take decisions that are necessary to govern.”

ALSO READ: Mashaba explains why he handed power to ‘irresponsible’ DA

Zille said without this majority, it would be “extraordinarily difficult” to run a municipality.

“Effectively you have to renegotiate a coalition before every single meeting.”

Despite the difficulties that lie ahead, Zille said it was important that South Africans now realised that the ANC can be beaten.

“The ANC fell for the first time below 50% and now has lost almost all the metros which effectively govern South Africa’s economy. That is a very important psychological barrier to cross, but it does not mean we’ve established stable alternative governments,” she said.

Zille also said the DA was prepared to walk away from coalitions if deals could not be made.

“We’re not held hostage in these arrangements,” she said, adding that dealbreakers would include corruption, patronage and race-based policies.

Mpho Phalatse elected Joburg mayor

On Monday, the DA took control of the City of Johannesburg from the ANC after Mpho Phalatse was elected as the metro’s mayor. The DA’s councillor Vasco Da Gama was also elected speaker.

ALSO READ: DA’s Mpho Phalatse elected new executive mayor of Johannesburg

The DA also claimed victory in the City of Ekurhuleni after Tania Campbell was elected executive mayor and Raymond Dlamini was voted speaker.

The DA is also in the running to take control of the Tshwane and eThekwini councils.

Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde