Fighters talk of ‘coali­tions of a spe­cial type’

CityPress - - News - S’THEMBILE CELE sthem­bile.cele@city­press.co.za

The Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters (EFF) is propos­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of “coali­tions of a spe­cial type” in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties where there is no out­right win­ner in lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions in Au­gust.

Speak­ing to City Press this week, ahead of the elec­tion man­i­festo launch at the Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto, Jo­han­nes­burg, the party’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Go­drich Gardee, said it would not co-gov­ern.

Rather, it would lend sup­port to another party that would be di­rectly ac­count­able to com­mu­ni­ties for ser­vice de­liv­ery, he said.

In re­turn, that party would lend its sup­port to the EFF in another mu­nic­i­pal­ity – where it would be in to­tal con­trol and ac­count­able.

Gardee said that the EFF would be in one of three po­si­tions post Au­gust 3: It would win some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties with an out­right ma­jor­ity of more than 50%; it would be the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion; or thirdly, it would be the king mak­ers.

In in­stances where the lat­ter sce­nario pre­vailed, par­ties with enough votes would be pre­sented with the con­cept of a “coali­tion of a spe­cial type”.

“If a party de­cides to gov­ern Tsh­wane, the other part­ner in the coali­tion will as­sist that party in be­ing an ‘ab­so­lute’ gov­ern­ing party there,” Gardee ex­plained.

“It means that party will be given the po­si­tions of mayor, the deputy mayor, the speaker. We hand over all the rights and be­come an op­po­si­tion there so that the vot­ers can speak to you when you fail to de­liver ser­vices.

“By giv­ing you our votes in the coun­cil to be a gov­ern­ment in Tsh­wane, the con­di­tion is that you give us the votes to be a gov­ern­ment in Jo­han­nes­burg, and vice versa,” added Gardee.

Though other par­ties have re­leased the names of their may­oral can­di­dates, the EFF has opted not to do so on the grounds that it is fo­cus­ing mem­bers’ at­ten­tion on win­ning elec­tions.

“Af­ter elec­tions, we are not un­der pres­sure. We can re­con­sti­tute our mem­bers in those mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties where we will be hav­ing an ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity.

“We will call them and say ‘we have won the bat­tle and who is the best equipped among you to be the mayor’.”

He added that no may­oral can­di­dates would be im­posed on any mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The EFF in­sisted that it could have got dou­ble the 6% it of­fi­cially achieved in the 2014 na­tional poll had it not been for the rig­ging of the elec­tions. But it chose not to con­test the re­sults be­cause ten­sions of­ten es­ca­lated into civil con­flict af­ter an elec­tion.

He said the prob­lem was not with the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion’s man­age­ment in Pre­to­ria but with staff on the ground and party agents.

“The rig­ging is done by staff of the IEC who are not even full­time em­ployed by the IEC...these are mem­bers of [ANCaf­fil­i­ated Cosatu unions] Sadtu, Popcru, Ne­hawu. That is what the IEC must deal with,” said Gardee.

With well-oiled elec­tion ma­chin­ery, he be­lieved the “thugs” would not suc­ceed. “We have raised it very sharply in the party li­ai­son struc­ture of the IEC,” he said.

The party also sug­gested that party agents be al­lowed to take pho­to­graphs of the re­sults slips be­fore leav­ing vot­ing sta­tions to en­sure that no changes were made en route to the cap­tur­ing cen­tres or at the cen­tres them­selves.

How­ever, the party did not re­veal the ar­eas it would be tar­get­ing. While it has a strong pres­ence in Gaut­eng, Lim­popo and the Free State, it is eye­ing KwaZulu-Natal, the East­ern Cape and Mpumalanga.

“We are not go­ing to win all 213 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, but there will be mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that will fall into the hands of the EFF – above 50%,” said Gardee.

He ven­tured to say that some bank­rupt and distressed mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties placed un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion would “au­to­mat­i­cally” fall into the EFF’s hands.

“Not be­cause we have in­vested, but be­cause peo­ple are tired of the rul­ing party in those ar­eas,” he said.

“We are go­ing to gov­ern them but the first thing we are go­ing to do is to go to court and re­pu­di­ate all of the debt.

“You just go to court and ap­ply for re­cusal,” he said.

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