Reports on Sunday featured the common theme that the ANC is frantically trying to reach an agreement with other political parties, most notably the EFF, to rescue its power in 27 hung municipalities.
The most important of these are the metros of Tshwane and Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay), where the ANC trails the DA in terms of the vote percentage and council seats. The EFF has the power to decide who governs in coalition in both cities.
The ANC will also need to find coalition partners or partner with the EFF if it wants to govern Johannesburg. If this does not happen within 90 days, the local government elections will have to be held all over again.
According to the Sunday Times, top ANC leaders have already defied Jacob Zuma to woo EFF leader Julius Malema, whose first demand is understood to be that Zuma needs to be removed as the president of the republic. The ANC negotiators are said to be the Gauteng ANC leadership, who do not have a good relationship with Zuma and are understood to be on reasonably good terms with Malema.
Coalition talks in Port Elizabeth reportedly already broke down between the EFF and the ANC because of the Zuma factor. Zuma’s backers told the paper that he had “expressed his disapproval” of talks with the EFF.
City Press, in turn, has confirmed that the ANC is wooing the Freedom Front Plus in Modimolle for a coalition there. It also said that sidelined ANC stalwart Mathews Phosa might play a leading role in talks with Malema, since he has maintained contact with the EFF leader. The paper reported that there would be another ANC-EFF meeting on Sunday in Nelson Mandela Bay to reconsider a coalition.
The EFF’s demand to remove Zuma would “stall any future talks as this would have to be processed through the ANC’s senior structures”, it reported.
The EFF has also disputed that a list of EFF demands supposedly circulating in ANC ranks demanding powerful Cabinet seats, the removal of Zuma and the arrests of ministers involved in the Marikana massacre is real. It suggested that these “demands” were merely intended to make the ANC think twice about any EFF coalition. The party described it as “bulls**t”.