The EFF won’t vote with the DA or ANC in Johannesburg and Tshwane after the DA-led coalition rejected the party’s request to elect an EFF mayor in Tshwane, party leader Julius Malema announced on Tuesday.
“They refused with their votes. They don’t want to vote with us but they want us to vote with them,” Malema said on the DA-led coalitions.
DA-led coalitions currently govern Johannesburg and Tshwane but rely on the EFF to pass matters in council. The EFF has supported the coalitions on an issue-by-issue basis.
“We cannot keep on voting for people who won’t vote for us,” said Malema.
“It’s done. It’s finished.”
The EFF took a position after the 2016 local government elections not to use its deciding seats in the two metros to take leadership positions, but the party opted to replace the ANC for the first time since 1994 and elect DA mayors.
That position has changed in recent years with the EFF calling for an opportunity to prove itself in government. The EFF and DA began power-sharing discussions in May, with the EFF pushing to lead in Tshwane.
The EFF Central Command Team held a special meeting on Monday to discuss its second national people’s assembly from 13 to 16 December at Nasrec, Johannesburg, where leadership will be elected.
“We also discussed and took a decision that we are no longer working with the DA in all municipalities of South Africa where the DA requires the votes of the EFF. We’ll also not vote with the ANC,” said Malema in a press conference on Tuesday.
The Auditor General highlighted Tshwane’s poor performance in the recent release of the 2017/18 municipal audit outcomes.
“We wanted to take Tshwane because we knew Tshwane is in the red. We wanted to demonstrate with Tshwane that we are the best government, take it out of the red, put it out there, make sure it becomes a proper government,” said Malema on Tuesday.
He claimed that the DA-led coalition had failed to turn the city around after taking over from the ANC’s former mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa.
After the 2016 elections, the Tshwane council was hung. The DA held 93 seats, the ANC had 89 seats, the EFF 25, the Freedom Front Plus four, and ACDP, Cope and PAC one each.
The DA’s Solly Msimanga was elected mayor before resigning in January 2019 to campaign for Gauteng premier. He was succeeded by the DA’s Stevens Mokgalapa.
DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the EFF had decided not to join its coalition following the 2016 elections and its recent power-sharing proposal had to be considered by the various coalition partners in Johannesburg and Tshwane. They decided not to elect the EFF in Tshwane.
“It wasn’t a DA one-man show. It wasn’t a DA one-party show,” said Malatsi on Tuesday.
“Everything has to be taken in the interests of all the parties rather than being held ransom by one party,” he continued.
Outgoing DA Federal Executive Chairperson James Selfe said the parties had a “harmonious” relationship and the EFF’s demands were accommodated if reasonable.
“If the EFF proceeds as planned, it will erode all of the good work coalition governments have done in the past and it will hinder progress in the future,” said Selfe.
He continued: “The people of DA-led metros voted for change and we have made significant progress in realising that commitment. If the EFF chooses to hand over well-functioning municipalities back to the corrupt ANC, they must account to the people who voted for change and they must explain to voters why they have chosen to be an enemy of clean governance and meaningful progress.”
The DA’s Athol Trollip was removed as Nelson Mandela Bay mayor in August 2018 after the UDM withdrew from the coalition, giving the EFF the deciding seats in the city’s council. The EFF then supported a UDM mayor, claiming it was standing up to the DA’s racism.
Malema continued to accuse the DA of racism on Tuesday, claiming the party had again exposed itself by attempting to fine the homeless in the City of Cape Town.
The EFF has threatened to remove DA mayors in Tshwane and Johannesburg on multiple occasions but has not followed through on the threat as it did in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Governance could suffer if the party abstains from all votes, apart from its own proposed resolutions, and the councils are unable to pass decisions.
Malema said voters installed the current leadership and the EFF could not be blamed for stalemates in the councils.
“They voted. They chose what government they want. South Africa, you get the government you deserve. You have it. Joburg, Tshwane and all of that,” said the EFF president.
While failed councils can be placed under administration by the provincial government, Malatsi said it’s far too early to talk about that possibility and the DA and its coalition partners would continue trying to focus on what’s best for citizens. DM
"Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge - fitter to bruise than polish." ~ Anne Bradstreet