By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – With the African National Congress (ANC) suffering huge losses in last week’s municipal polls, the party’s woes were compounded when its rivals in Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality shut the liberation movement out of coalition talks.
As a result, a change of the guard is on the cards with a coalition comprising the MAP16, Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Dikwankwetla Party of South Africa (DPSA) appearing more and more likely following reports that the coalition talks are at an ‘advanced stage’.
The move has all but quashed the ANC’s hopes of retaining control of the municipality. Having managed 20 seats, the MAP16 Civic Movement needed but needs at least 16 seats to attain the magic number of 36 which would enable it and its coalition partners to wrestle the municipality from the ANC, for the first time since the dawn of multi-party democracy.
The Guard understands that when these consultations which began on Monday are finally concluded, MAP16 will report back to its supporters – before council convenes – on which party they are partnering.
MAP16 head of communications, Mmutlanyana Sekete, told this publicationthat the consultations are at an advanced stage.
“We are making progress as far as the negotiations are concerned since our common mandate is to focus on service delivery.
“I would like to dismiss allegations that negotiations between us and the DA collapsed as a result of conniving with the EFF which also have a sizeable number of seats in the council.”
EFF regional chairperson, Mohau Molwelwe, made it clear that his party was open to negotiating with any party but the ANC.
“Our cardinal pillars are very clear and we must also indicate that we are not interested in taking any executive position in the council,” Molwelwe said.
African Transformation Movement (ATM) regional chairperson, Nkareng Moloi said they are willing to work with any party that will have MAP’s best interests at heart.
“We will work with a party that will prioritize the needs of our community, which is service delivery,” Moloi said.
DA provincial leader, Roy Jankielsohn said the party was yet to meet with MAP16 for crunch talks on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, The Guard picked the brain of political research analyst, Molefi Nyofane on the different permutations likely to play out Maluti-a-Phofung.
Nyofane cautioned of the detrimental effects of the liberal philosophy in coalition governments saying.
“Parties in a coalition should put their differences aside for the sake of MAP community and have a common obligation that will be fruitful to the municipality. In order for MAP16 to have a well-coordinated coalition, it should let opposition parties be in the executive as well. That way, they will avoid a repetition of what happened in Metsimaholo municipality in Sasolburg, where we saw a coalition government collapsing within a short space of time,” Nyofane said.
Maluti-a-Phofung is among the 66 hung councils in the country where there is no outright majority; that means the municipality, which used to be a ANC stronghold post 1994, is likely to be led by a coalition that will exclude the ruling party if MAP16 Civic Movement has its way.
Map16 Civic Movement was founded by 16 ex-councillors expelled ANC after they were accused of voting with the opposition to oust former mayor Vusi Tshabalala who has since been deployed to the Free State legislature.
During the by-elections to fill wards left by the fired councilors, the 16 contested as independent candidates and won 10 wards, leaving ANC with only five.