More coalitions on cards for SA
Experts differ on whether they really work
EXPERTS predict that the 2019 general election could usher in more coalition governments in the country.
This transpired during a seminar at the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria yesterday, where challenges faced by coalition governments came under the spotlight.
The panellists were grappling with the question: What if the outcomes of the 2019 and 2021 elections intensify the reality of coalition governments?
The trend of coalition governments had been with the country since 2000, but it was heightened during the 2016 municipal polls, participants noted.
Speakers shared sentiments that the country was on the cusp of more coalitions after the 2019 election, but differed on whether the system was good for service delivery or not.
The seminar was themed Intergovernmental relations and coalition governments at the crossroads, and attended by academics, social activists and political experts.
Dr Makhosi Khoza, head of Local Government Strategy at the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), said coalitions were not necessarily a recipe for disaster. “Coalition governments work depending on the trade-offs (put) on the table (by different political parties),” she said.
In the same breath, Khoza said she didn’t believe coalition governments were the answer to social challenges.
“Political parties are not necessarily the answer to South Africa.
“The answer to our challenges as citizens is for us to consider establishing an apolitical public party.”
She rebuked politicians for being self-serving and political pawns of their parties. “You are supposed to be public representatives, but when you’re in Parliament you are not public representatives, but political deployees.
“You have to do what your party says and not necessarily what citizens expect you to do,” Khoza said.
ANC Tshwane regional chairperson Dr Kgosi Maepa said the coalition in the City had not worked for the past two years.
The DA-led coalition was beset by instability evident by an ongoing feud between Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga and city manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola, he said.
“There is no service delivery. The municipal manager and the mayor are in court and the city manager is not signing for anything. He said he doesn’t take instructions from DA.”
He blamed the partnership between the DA and the EFF for poor service, saying both parties had divergent views on how the City must be run.
Maepa said the EFF as the kingmaker in the City could at any given time decide to work with the ANC by kicking Msimanga out.
“That causes problems because it will breed instability in the context of the economic development and other important matters.”
Participant Jonny Mohlala rebutted the assertion that coalitions could work. “Coalition governments have never and will never be sustainable for the simple reason that they didn’t have a mandate,” he said.
Former municipal manager at Emfuleni Municipality Thomas Mkhaza said changes in political leadership must not affect municipal administration. It had to be stable at all times. Chopping and changing municipal managers created instability. “A municipal manager should not be appointed on the basis of a particular political party but on qualifications and leadership skills.”
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