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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

DA using Kunene as a distraction from the real issue, says PA ahead of Joburg council sitting

The PA said although Kunene's name was dropped during the meeting, it was not the main focus of the discussion.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has claimed that negotiations between the party and its former coalition partners in Johannesburg ended on Thursday following “demands” by the Patriotic Alliance (PA) for Kenny Kunene to be the mayoral candidate.

“The DA rejected the demand for Kenny Kunene to be the Mayoral candidate, and reaffirmed our position that, in order to enter coalition negotiations with the DA, the PA would have to move out of the ambit of the ANC in nine municipalities around the country where the PA is in coalition with the ANC,” said DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga.

Msimanga said during the talks, the DA proposed reverting to the last negotiated agreement in Johannesburg, as the only existing agreement on which an alternative to the ANC/EFF can be based.

ALSO READ: DA, ActionSA or ANC-EFF candidate? City of Joburg to elect mayor via secret ballot

“The DA has a clear policy: we negotiate and sign coalition agreements before we move into government. That is why we are prepared to revive the coalition agreement on which our previous coalition government was based, before we were toppled from power when the PA voted with the ANC.”

Kunene ‘a distraction’

However, PA’s Charles Cilliers says that’s not exactly how things happened.

Cilliers told The Citizen that the meeting, called by ActionSA and FF Plus, with the support of UIM, ACDP, IFP did not collapse.

The PA and DA were also invited to the meeting, which sought to reach a consensus on the next mayoral candidate ahead of the City of Joburg council sitting on Friday.

The PA said although Kunene’s name came up during the meeting, it was not the main focus of the discussion.

“As the PA, we believe he would make an excellent mayor, just as we believe he is an excellent Transport MMC. We made it clear that he would bring stability and strong leadership to the city and why should it not be an option?

“However, the idea did not have support, and that is okay, and we moved on. For the DA to say the issue was a sticking point is complete nonsense.”

After parties did not support the idea of having Kunene as Joburg mayor, the discussion moved on to whether the DA was willing to support ActionSA candidate Funzi Ngobeni.

“In principle, there is no reason why the PA would not support Ngobeni if the ANC is not putting forward a candidate. The way that the meeting ended was, there was an understanding of wanting to hear from the DA if they are willing to support Ngobeni. The Kenny thing was a sideshow,” said the PA.

ALSO READ: Next Joburg mayor likely to come from a minority party

“So now the DA walked out of that meeting and made Kenny the focus of the meeting. They knew they were going to get exposed if they mentioned Ngobeni because then people would ask ‘why won’t you vote for Ngobeni?’ They’re using Kenny as a distraction.”

The party also made it clear it would not support the DA.

DA vs ANC and PA

Cilliers said the only reason the PA refused to distance itself from the ANC was because the instruction came from the DA.

“It’s not that we’re not willing to not work with the ANC, it’s just that we’re not willing to do it because we’ve been ordered to do it by the DA.

“We remain in a coalition with the ANC and that was clearly conveyed to all the people at the meeting. The DA did nothing to persuade us that we should vote differently.”

PA leader Gayton McKenzie also tweeted his party would never be told what to do by the DA.

“@OnsBaizaNie shall never distance themselves from the ANC or any other party on the instruction of the DA. We have a right to our own strategy. We will never ever be told what to do by people we hope to topple in the Western Cape. I hope we are clear as the PA.”

The City of Joburg council will sit on Friday to elect a new mayor following the resignation of Al Jama-ah councillor Thapelo Amad last week.

Former City of Joburg mayor, Mpho Phalatse, is hoping to return at the held of the metro after the DA announced her as the party’s candidate.

The IFP and ACDP have decided to back Ngobeni.

ALSO READ: Amad is out of his depth as Joburg mayor

Additional reporting by Molefe Seeletsa