The DA’s ambitions to govern the City of Joburg could be in tatters if it insists on its mayoral candidate Herman Mashaba. The DA refused the EFF’s demand to change Mashaba as its mayoral candidate to strike a coalition deal.
Speaking at a media briefing on coalition negotiations in Sandton yesterday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane made it clear Mashaba remained the mayoral candidate for the city.
“We asked the people of Johannesburg to vote for Herman Mashaba. Herman Mashaba stands as our candidate. You can’t ask South Africans to vote for a candidate and then seek to change that.”
Maimane added: “Our party operates on particular principles. We just don’t issue mayorships somewhere, somehow. The reason we have taken the stance that we have is because it is important for us to honour the relationship we have with voters.”
Maimane was flanked by the DA’s federal chairperson, James Selfe, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder, Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa and the African Christian Democratic Party chairperson JoAnn Downs.
The four parties had signed a co-governance agreement. Maimane said the DA negotiated with the EFF in good faith, but it was clear they would never agree on ideological issues. EFF leader Julius Malema told Eyewitness News that Mashaba was an inexperienced politician and had insulted poor people in the run-up to elections.
Mashaba, however, told The Citizen last night that he went through a rigorous mayoral candidate election process.
“But if the party says it is important for it to govern Johannesburg with the EFF to bury the ANC and I must step aside, I will oblige,” he said.
Maimane’s spokesperson, Mabine Seabe, said that the DA was not, however, willing to sacrifice Mashaba for the sake of governing Johannesburg.
Maimane said coalition politics were not new in South Africa.
“We pioneered this when we took over the City of Cape Town in what was a very tricky and a difficult coalition,” Maimane said.
“But we had to make it work because it gave effect to political change.” Lekota said opposition parties were firmly committed to defending the constitution of the country.
Downs said South Africa had won because no one party could govern without the support of the others.
“When we are all together we are better,” she said.