A cooperation pact between the three biggest opposition parties in local government in South Africa could test the waters for a similar agreement come the 2019 general elections, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said on Wednesday.
“We’ve got 2019 in our sights and if this kind of cooperation at this level is maintained, then I’m sure 2019 is in our sights because the ruling party is very close to [falling below] the 50% mark…,” said MP Narend Singh, IFP national chair of campaigning, while briefing journalists in Parliament.
“At one point you thought one party would be dominant until somebody comes, and they’ve said it themselves, and I don’t want to mention the blasphemous word, but it shows you the dynamics of politics in changing and we all have got to be on our toes.”
Singh said the cooperation agreement, while not an official coalition, would see the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) support his party to take control of at least five hung local councils and three district councils in KwaZulu-Natal. In turn, the IFP would collaborate with the DA and EFF in Gauteng.
“We are not forming coalitions, and each party will maintain its own identity. But our councillors will work together at local level, in various municipalities, to ensure that the will of the electorate is respected,” said Singh.
“Accordingly, the IFP is likely to govern an additional five local municipalities through this cooperation, and three district municipalities. This is in addition to the six we won on August 3.”
Singh believes that despite ideological differences, parties would be able to put aside politicking, and ensure “good governance, service delivery and clean administration”.
“Nothing is cast in stone, not even a marriage licence is cast in stone. You go before there and you say for better or for worse, until death do us part, it doesn’t happen all the time but we are hoping that we can, with the kind of leadership that we have and the dispute resolution mechanism that we have, to try and maintain the relationship moving forward,” he said.
Singh said all parties have set up a team at national level who would intervene and resolve disputes between parties should they arise in councils where the cooperation pacts were in place.
– African News Agency (ANA)