‘Shaky coalitions’ was why Joburg couldn’t pass budget earlier – analyst

Johannesburg city council.

At the core of metro council instability is that governing parties are minority parties ‘lacking the 50% plus 1% majority’.

Earlier attempts by the African National Congress (ANC) led City of Johannesburg to table and pass a budget, should not be seen outside shaky coalition partnerships that have been forged by former political foes in Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, a political analyst said on Thursday.

Fraught with instability, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay have gone through a similar experience, according to University of South Africa political science professor Dirk Kotze.

Days into the new financial year and the City of Johannesburg earlier appeared nowhere close to passing its budget before Thursday – something which would have culminated into a grave prospect of being put under administration.

Kotze said at the core of metro council instability was that governing parties were a minority parties “lacking the 50% plus 1% majority”.

Explained Kotze: “Coalition governments on their own are not necessarily unstable.

“What happened in all three metros: Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Johannesburg is that the coalitions of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were shaky.

“You had the EFF which was previously not willing to join the coalition, except in a strategic co-operation partnership.

“In all three cases, the EFF withdrew their support from the DA last year, which created instability because the only way a majority could coalesce between the DA and the ANC could not become possible.

“The other thing was that the EFF started negotiating over taking over a seat of mayor – an issue in Johannesburg and in Tshwane.

“The case for Johannesburg was unexpected because the coalition partners of the DA and the small parties, joined the ANC.”

“But here in Tshwane it is not possible because that disappeared after Johannesburg. In the case of Nelson Mandela Bay, the ANC, EFF and DA could not come together.

The EFF became the kingmaker in all three metros “but at some point, withdrew”.

“That is what created the instability seen everywhere.

“The ANC in Johannesburg took so long to pass the budget because they do not necessarily have a majority.

“In terms of budget passing, the majority must be 50% plus 1%.

“But most decisions in metros can be taken by a simple majority.

“In the case of an election of a mayor, speaker or motion of no confidence, you need 50% plus 1%

“The ANC does not have that majority and they need it from small parties. The issue is about deals made with minorities to keep them happy,” said Kotze.

In concurring with former Johannesburg executive mayor Mashaba’s assertion that in the instance of a stalemate over budget there should have been fresh elections held, Kotze said: “Opening up elections is what was supposed to happen here in Tshwane as well, which when it was put under administration.’

“In terms of the law, there should have been elections in 90 days, but because of lockdown it did not happen.

“Mr Mashaba has a point, but what it means is that there should be a majority in the council voting in favour of dissolving it.”

brians@citizen.co.za

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