Sunday World (South Africa)

ANC and DA betray spirit of coalitions

Actionsa’s loyalities lie with residents

- Herman Mashaba • Mashaba is Actionsa president

On November 8 2022, just a week after having been removed from office, Democratic Alliance (DA) mayor Tania Campbell was voted back into office with the support of coalition partners, including Actionsa.

One week later, Actionsa announced its departure from the coalition in Ekurhuleni, giving up MMC (member of mayoral council) positions that most political parties prize over everything else in coalitions.

The story lies in how these two events make sense in relation to one another. Over time, Actionsa has witnessed how the coalition in Ekurhuleni has failed to live up to its stated commitment­s codified in the coalition agreement.

When the coalition agreement was created, it was a minority coalition government with 93 seats needing 112 votes to conduct the business of the residents in council. When we queried this, Actionsa was assured that every effort would be made to ensure the coalition can pass budgets and survive motions of no confidence. This changed the minute the agreement was signed with national leaders of the DA, who denied local coalition structures any mandate to engage with other parties. That would have led to enough votes to operate optimally. “They must vote with us or against us, but we will not ask for their support.”

This is not how stable coalitions are created, it is a recipe for instabilit­y and uncertaint­y. Budgets and IDPS are blueprints of service delivery. If they are not passed in council, service delivery grinds to a halt. To play Russian roulette with service delivery in a major metro is not principled. Those who ultimately suffer from instabilit­y are the residents of Ekurhuleni.

The government led by Campbell is not delivering better than its ANC predecesso­rs. Actionsa conducted a survey of residents in Ekurhuleni and the results were astonishin­g. Only 23% believed the municipali­ty was moving in the right direction since the coalition took over, and only 16% believed that services had improved.

Mutually agreed priorities that Actionsa had submitted into the coalition agreement, signed by all parties, were ignored. Inner city rejuvenati­on, a strategy to address illegal immigratio­n, insourcing of security guards and cleaners, effective labour relations and ending Eskom supply of electricit­y were all ignored.

The underlying reason behind refusal to implement these priorities is a reflection of government that is failing poor black communitie­s. Communitie­s have not had refuse removal in the past eight weeks.

Open spaces and soccer fields in the townships have become dumping sites and, services have gone backwards while the government is led by a mayor that has decidedly been absent in engaging communitie­s in the townships.

With Actionsa holding the portfolio of public safety, we would have been leading the department­s that have to respond to the inevitable service delivery protests that will follow failed service delivery. So,

while the mayor and her government are nowhere to be found, Actionsa would have to fight against our own constituen­ts for failed service delivery from department­s we do not govern. This could not be allowed to happen.

Actionsa entered coalitions to provide better service delivery than the previous government­s that were displaced. We cannot be a part of any coalition that does not deliver, does not implement agreed priorities and cannot provide enough stability to turn metros around.

The challenge that Actionsa faced is that we also cannot be a part of an entity an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) mayor to govern the City of Ekurhuleni. This was the plan – | the ANC would get Johannesbu­rg and the EFF Ekurhuleni.

If Actionsa had not supported the return of the Da-led coalition mayor, we would have blamed for the installati­on of an EFF mayor and all of the chaos that was likely to follow. Actionsa is committed to providing an alternativ­e in 2024.

We have agreed to vote against any motions of no confidence but thereafter our support can only be achieved on an issue by issue basis.

This arrangemen­t frees Actionsa to fight more effectivel­y for the residents of Ekurhuleni. Already, our teams have initiated a tour of communitie­s across Ekurhuleni. They are meeting with communitie­s and identifyin­g critical service delivery issues that need to be addressed.

The mayor will be informed of these demands long in advance and, if they accommodat­e them, Actionsa’s support will be guaranteed. If they do not provide adequately to resolve these issues, our support will be withheld.

The DA’S response to this position has been telling in its arrogance. It appeared to believe that it’s entitled to unconditio­nal support of its coalition partners, whether it delivers or not. This may be the case with some of the parties but not Actionsa.

Actionsa is not a franchise. It is an independen­t political party that contested in 2021 and achieved big results in Gauteng. We have people who supported us and people who may want to support us in the future and these people deserve representa­tion in council and someone to fight for them.

Actionsa’s loyalties lie only with the South African people. We will only serve through coalition government­s that work to benefit all residents. If these coalitions do not work, we will hold them accountabl­e in the strongest terms so that the residents of Ekurhuleni can never doubt that there is a party in their corner.

If budgets and IDPS are not passed, service delivery grinds to a halt

 ?? ?? DA mayor Tania Campbell was voted back into office with the support of coalition partners, including Actionsa.
DA mayor Tania Campbell was voted back into office with the support of coalition partners, including Actionsa.
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