Fighters talk of ‘coalitions of a special type’
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.