Small political parties that agreed on a coalition of a multi-party government with the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday said they were doing so to bring about “a new era in South African politics”.
The DA announced on Wednesday that it had partnered with five smaller parties — the Congress of the People (Cope), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), to establish governments in some of the 27 hung councils countrywide, a move that has guaranteed it the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.
The ACDP — which agreed to form a government with the DA in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay — said this was the time for maximum accountability and transparency, and to bring service delivery to people.
At a media briefing in Johannesburg, ACDP national chairperson JoAnn Downs, said life had to change for all people, especially those in underserviced townships.
“The ACDP has joined in multi-party governments with four other parties in these three metro cities to make a difference in all our daily lives, particularly the poor and the vulnerable,” Downs said.
“All of us will remain the individual parties that we are with our own unique identities, but we choose to co-operate to make sure that these things happen.”
The IFP, which agreed to support the DA and EFF in Gauteng, said a cooperation pact with the DA and EFF would see it govern an additional eight municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.
“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,” IFP’s national chair of campaigning, Narend Singh said in a media briefing in Cape Town.
FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said this agreement was history being made in more than one way, and his party had predicted coalitions after the elections.
“The parties are committed to bringing open, honest, accountable and responsive government to the people of South Africa,” Mulder said.
Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said his party was happy to join with others in this agreement, saying the voters had created an opportunity for which South Africa had been waiting a long time.
“This occasion lays the foundation for South Africans through opposition parties to take our country out of [the corruption] crisis so that each and every one of us can respect the constitution and be bound by it from day to day,” Lekota said.
Moreover, the DA also secured the support of the EFF after the red berets announced on Wednesday that they would vote for the DA in councils, a move that would guarantee it Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, though the radical party refused to partner in a coalition government, opting instead to be in opposition.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane assured the public that this arrangement would not result in chaos, saying coalition politics was not new to South Africa.
“It is a model that has been pioneered by the DA before, and we know that it is a model that will play an increasingly central role in the future of our politics,” Maimane said.
“The DA is perfectly positioned to lead coalition governments that will form the blueprint for governing coalitions at provincial and national level in the future.”
– African News Agency (ANA)