Tsh­wane res­i­dents the big­gest losers

The Citizen (KZN) - - Opinion -

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.

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