There is a “good likelihood” that Tshwane will end up in a similar situation as Johannesburg, DA interim leader John Steenhuisen said in the aftermath of the ANC unseating the DA-led coalition as the governing party in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Addressing journalists in Parliament on Thursday, Steenhuisen didn’t hide his disappointment at the outcome.
He said he was at the Johannesburg caucus last week and detected a lot of frustration.
“I made a commitment that we will not stay in government for government’s sake,” he said.
“I will not be the leader who betrays the principles of the party and sells out.”
He said one or two DA councillors voted with the ANC.
“It is clear there were some deals done and some negotiations with the DA was in bad faith,” he said.
The DA will engage with the parties concerned.
He said the machinations will become clear when the mayoral committee positions are awarded.
He said the EFF put a variety of issues on the negotiation table, and the DA made some counter-proposals. They offered positions of committee chairpersons to the EFF.
“In the end, it turned out to be an academic exercise.”
Invoking Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien”, Steenhuisen said the party had “no regrets” having been in government in Johannesburg since 2016’s dramatic municipal elections. He said it was the right thing to do, as it showed voters that they could affect a change in government.
“Having a variety of hands on the throttle always makes it complicated,” he said.
“We will not go into coalitions for coalitions’ sake.
“No regrets, a number of lessons, yes.”
“It hasn’t been a good year for the DA, let’s be frankly honest,” Steenhuisen said.
He said they must move on now.
“People come and go. But the project is bigger than the people.”
He said they must now get “the ship battle-ready for 2021”.
He said they gathered a lot of experience from the last year or so.
“Mistakes are never fatal, permitted that you learn from them.”