ANC left bruised, DA gal­vanised

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

PRE­TO­RIA — The ANC was left bruised and the DA en­er­gised, while the EFF emerged as king­mak­ers fol­low­ing one of the most hotly-con­tested elec­tions in post­demo­cratic South Africa.

Sup­port for the ruling party fell to be­low 60 per­cent of the votes for the first time since 1994, who only won out­right ma­jori­ties in Buf­falo City, Man­gaung, and eThek­wini.

In Gaut­eng, the party got 44.55 per­cent of the vote, the DA 38.37 per­cent, and the EFF 11.09 per­cent. The ANC failed to get over the 50 per­cent mark in Jo­han­nes­burg, Ekurhu­leni, Tsh­wane, and Mo­gale City.

The fail­ure of any sin­gle party to break the 50 per­cent mark meant coali­tions would be the or­der of the day for the next five years.

The EFF had said it would not en­ter into coali­tions with the ANC, the party its found­ing mem­bers re­jected in 2013. The UDM had said it was pre­pared to en­ter into part­ner­ships with the DA, which could see Mmusi Maimane’s party get­ting an out­right ma­jor­ity in Nel­son Man­dela Bay.

The ANC’s Gaut­eng chair­per­son, Paul Mashatile, said the ANC had al­ready been ap­proached by other par­ties, and had ap­proached oth­ers to ne­go­ti­ate pos­si­ble coali­tions.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma struck a con­cil­ia­tory tone and said the 2016 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions showed the world that democ­racy was thriv­ing in South Africa. He con­grat­u­lated all the par­ties, in­clud­ing those who gained new mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. South Africans were the real vic­tors, and their will pre­vailed, he said.

“You have shown the world that South Africa is a thriv­ing democ­racy where dif­fer­ences of po­lit­i­cal opin­ion and di­verse po­lit­i­cal pref­er­ences are al­lowed to flour­ish,” he said in a speech at the IEC’s re­sults cen­tre in Pre­to­ria.

He called on elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to build ac­ces­si­ble, car­ing, and ef­fi­cient lo­cal gov­ern­ments, re­gard­less of which party was in charge in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

His speech was over­shad­owed by an anti-rape protest by a group of women. As he spoke, they stood up and dis­played plac­ards with words re­call­ing his rape trial 10 years ago. More drama fol­lowed when se­cu­rity guards shoved them away.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane gave as­sur­ances that the party would not purge any civil ser­vants in the met­ros where it would take over from the ANC.

“The is­sue is not your po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion; the is­sue is about mak­ing sure that you have the best per­son to do the job. I’m not out there to purge. There’s this mis­in­formed ru­mour that the DA is out to purge the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. That’s not true,” he said.

The party wanted the best peo­ple to do the work, re­gard­less of their race or po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions.

In Nel­son Man­dela Bay there had been “a lot of pa­tron­age” un­der the ANC gov­ern­ment, but he said peo­ple could still be con­vinced to do a good job, even if they had been ap­pointed be­cause of this.

Port El­iz­a­beth may­oral can­di­date Athol Trol­lip how­ever warned that those who had been ap­pointed ir­reg­u­larly, or who were in­volved in cor­rup­tion, would come un­der scru­tiny.

Mean­while, ne­go­ti­at­ing coali­tions with the EFF looks set to be a drawn-out game of cat and mouse.

While the king­mak­ers fol­low­ing this week’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions could draw out the ne­go­ti­a­tions for the full two weeks avail­able, the two big­ger par­ties, the ANC and the DA, hope an­nounce­ments could be made in the com­ing week.

Coali­tion deals were very much the only thing on the lips of politi­cians on the floor of the IEC’s elec­tions re­sults cen­tre in Pre­to­ria from late Thurs­day on­wards as pro­jec­tions from early re­sults showed the ANC would be be­low 50% in a few coun­cils.

But a non­cha­lant EFF spokesper­son, Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi, said on Satur­day th­ese were mere “warm-ups for the party”.

He said, “We have had all types of con­ver­sa­tions from the ones who saw the light [that there would be hung coun­cils] much ear­lier. There have been warm-ups ear­lier but there hasn’t been an ap­proach. Where there is, we will ex­plain and in­form the pub­lic.”

Nd­lozi said the ‘warm-ups’ were with the DA, with DA chair of the fed­eral coun­cil, James Selfe, con­firm­ing his party had ap­proached the EFF to talk about Tsh­wane, which the DA won with 43 per­cent of the vote against the ANC’s 41.5 per­cent.

“They are warm­ing up to us be­cause we don’t need —

any­thing. We don’t have to talk to any­one,” Nd­lozi said.

His play­ing cool does not, how­ever, en­tirely re­flect re­al­ity. The EFF, like any po­lit­i­cal party, does want power – and to be in a po­si­tion that would al­low it to ul­ti­mately get more votes in sub­se­quent elec­tions.

Even though Nd­lozi said ne­go­ti­a­tions weren’t yet in the phase where ac­tual bar­gain­ing was tak­ing place, in ANC cir­cles a story is do­ing the rounds that EFF leader Julius Malema had al­ready asked for the speaker po­si­tion in Tsh­wane metro coun­cil, as well as the may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber po­si­tion for roads and trans­port. This could pos­si­bly be to make good on his prom­ises to build roads for Ham­man­skraal res­i­dents.

The party’s 11.7 per­cent means its numbers could help ei­ther the ANC or the DA set up a gov­ern­ment there.

Nd­lozi was adamant the EFF would never con­sider coali­tions with the ANC.

“The ANC is dy­ing, the ANC must ac­cept that and die. Dy­ing, even in the ab­sence of the EFF. Even if we say ‘now we are clos­ing shop’, the ANC is go­ing to un­ravel next year,” he said. Nd­lozi was re­fer­ring to the party’s leadership elec­tion con­fer­ence in 2017.

Other lead­ers in the party have, how­ever, told Daily Mav­er­ick that they might talk to the ANC, and there is even a sug­ges­tion that strug­gle stal­wart Win­nie Madik­ize­laMan­dela, long an icon of the EFF, could be roped in to talk to Malema. — Sapa

ANC vol­un­teers, party agents and work­ers get­ting soup in Ward 43 in Port El­iz­a­beth. News24

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