Addressing supporters outside the High Court in Pretoria, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema brought up his recent announcement that his party would no longer be voting with the DA in municipalities.
“If things go wrong in Tshwane it will be the DA and not the EFF to blame,” he warned.
The reason behind the EFF’s decision, as Malema revealed at a press conference on Tuesday, is the DA’s refusal to acquiesce to the commander-in-chief and his party’s demand of appointing an EFF mayor to head the municipality.
“The most reasonable thing to do when you have not won elections is to share power and do not behave arrogantly like the ANC do when they are in power,” Malema said of the DA’s refusal to submit to the EFF’s request.
“The DA and the ANC are the same,” Malema concluded.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane, however, told 702 that if the EFF wanted to dictate who the mayor of Tshwane was, they should start by winning the elections there.
He stressed that he was unwilling to go against his and his party’s principles just to continue governing.
“Coalitions only work on principle, they don’t just work on simply just saying you’ll be pragmatic or you’ll ignore your own principles. Our principles are crucial,” he said.
He added that he was still “open to negotiate” with the EFF’s decision, which could result in the DA losing power in Tshwane as they did last year in Nelson Mandela Bay.
ANC Tshwane chairperson Dr Kgosi Maepa, meanwhile, said at a media briefing on Thursday that his party was willing to work with both the DA and EFF towards the greater good.
Maepa said while he’d heard Malema’s reasons for ending its coalition with the DA, he didn’t believe or trust him.
“He is known as a serial flip-flopper,” he said.
The Citizen reported in May that Malema went on record to say the EFF was going to give the DA the ultimatum of either installing an EFF mayor in Tshwane or losing their support.
Malema said the party was ready to assume administrative responsibility, particularly since the EFF was able to swell its support in the recent national and provincial elections. They now have 44 seats in the National Assembly, and are the official opposition in three provinces, up from two in 2014.
If the DA failed to play along with the EFF’s reportedly growing ambitions, the EFF would simply be able to install the ANC in power, as they are the kingmaker party, in a completely new power-sharing deal.
However, at the press conference on Tuesday, Malema said that while the EFF would no longer vote with the DA, they wouldn’t vote with the ANC either, and instead would “abstain”.