The coalition talks among South Africa’s political parties after last week’s municipal elections are the most definitive negotiation process since predemocratic South Africa, according to political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana.
With the ANC standing to lose the most in metros such as Nelson Mandela Bay and Tswhane, where the bulk of the votes went to the DA, Ndletyana said the ANC would have to settle its differences with the EFF to secure a majority through a coalition.
“It’s a tough one for the EFF,” Ndletyana said, especially because of the animosity between the two parties after the EFF’s pre-election statements about corruption and how the ANC is responsible for the state of the country today.
Speaking to News24 on Saturday, the EFF’s national spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, said: “We have had all types of conversations with the ones who saw the light [that there would be hung councils] much earlier. There have been warm-ups earlier but there hasn’t been an approach. Where there is, we will explain and inform the public.”
Ndlozi confirmed the “warm-ups” were with the DA, who said they had approached the EFF to talk about Tshwane, which the DA won with 43% of the vote against the ANC’s 41.5%.
But Ndletyana said that convincing the EFF to align itself with the DA would be a tough sell.
“Ideologically, they are so far apart. Their rhetoric is very critical of what the DA represents, so they represent the same thing that the DA disapproves of,” the professor said. Ndletyana said that the ANC has fewer ideological and policy differences with the EFF.
The three-year-old party has a dominantly socialist ideology with a specific interest in radical land distribution and restitution.
During the final weeks of the ANC’s campaign, President Jacob Zuma was more vocal than usual about land and the role of “white capital” in exacerbating existing inequalities.
These sentiments echo those of EFF president Julius Malema, whose fiscal and land policies suggest radical and active redistribution of resources to the black and poor masses.
A week before the elections, Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile told supporters in Midvaal that the party would “expropriate” land from the DA-run municipality to build houses for the poor if the opposition party failed to do so.
“The EFF has shown itself to perceive the ANC as a representation of everything that is bad about South Africa.
“If they can get over that, it will be easier for the EFF to explain to their supporters why they aligned themselves with the ANC,” said Ndletyana.
He believed that other parties that won seats, but were much smaller, such as the UDM, might also be able to pick up the slack.
“The ANC can stand a better chance of governing if it doesn’t rely on the EFF, but on other parties. For instance in Nelson Mandela Bay, it needs 11 seats for a majority, and those seats can come from the EFF and other parties.”