Tshwane residents the biggest losers
On the face of things, it looks as though the Democratic Alliance (DA) is going to be the biggest loser in the realignment of politics taking place in Gauteng. Its brief time in the spotlight, with its people sitting as mayors in Johannesburg and Tshwane, appears to be over … and the likelihood of the party attaining those heights again in the foreseeable future looks slim.
However, the real victims in the messy three-way conniving and fighting between the DA, the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) could well end up being the residents and ratepayers of the province.
This week, the DA mayor of Tshwane, Stevens Mokgalapa, resigned after he was the subject of some negative publicity – to put it kindly – over an allegedly improper relationship with another councillor.
That paves the way for the ANC to appoint its own nominee to the position, with the buy-in of its new partner, the EFF.
The EFF, relishing its role as kingmaker in both Gauteng municipalities, was the reason the DA got the mayor posts after the 2016 local government elections.
The relationship between the DA and the EFF was never sunny and many DA supporters believed the party lurched towards the EFF’s populist policies as a way to keep Julius Malema and his supporters onside. That belief cost the DA in last year’s national elections as many conservative voters abandoned it.
The politics of Tshwane and Johannesburg in recent months have been characterised by in-fighting and actual brawls in the case of Tshwane. Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba abandoned the DA ship late last year in protest at the supposed resurgence of Helen’s Zille’s “right-wing” views.
While politicians continue to fight each other, rather than for the people, the people will suffer.