South Africa


ANC in talks with ‘a certain political party’ about taking over governance of Ekurhuleni

ANC in talks with ‘a certain political party’ about taking over governance of Ekurhuleni
ANC flag (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart) | EFF leader Julius Malema. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle)

The ANC has been in talks with the EFF in Gauteng in a move to regain the metros and now that the governing party has been able to snatch Johannesburg from the DA, there are fears that Ekurhuleni is next.

Days after the ANC reclaimed Gauteng’s richest metro, Johannesburg,  from the multiparty coalition government, it appears that Ekurhuleni may be next. Daily Maverick understands that the ruling party has recently been engaged in serious talks with the EFF about this.

The Ekurhuleni coalition, consisting of the DA, ActionSA, Congress of the People, Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party and Inkatha Freedom Party, has only 94 seats.

A marriage between the ANC and EFF would see a strong partnership with a total of 117 seats.

The ANC’s chief whip in Ekurhuleni, Jongizizwe Dlabathi, confirmed the ruling party had been engaged in talks with a political party, which he would not name. He says they had agreed that the coalition was failing to deliver.

The EFF is the kingmaker as it has a substantial number of seats in the council and if it did strike a deal, the ANC could easily take control of the city.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Western Cape coalitions hold steady despite council rupture in City of Joburg

“We are in discussion with a certain political party to try and find each other because we all agree that the DA-led minority coalition is struggling to govern and more so, there is serious unhappiness with their delivery to black townships where the majority resides. They are purely focused on white suburban areas … there is great concern on their governance and neglect of townships.

“We are then saying, we need to restore the credibility of the city and we all agree it’s not ideal to have a minority governing over the majority; we therefore agree that something needs to happen, and the talks are ongoing,” Dlabathi told Daily Maverick.

This comes after the ousting of the DA’s Mpho Phalatse as executive mayor of Joburg through a motion of no confidence. Phalatse is, however, not taking it lying down — she has filed papers at the Johannesburg High Court in a bid to regain her position.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Not without a fight – ousted Mpho Phalatse turns to court to win back Joburg mayoral seat

In the papers, she highlights irregularities with the programming meeting that approved the motion against her, the council sitting of 30 September and the election of the ANC’s Dada Morero as the new mayor.

Discussions to be refined

Turning to Ekurhuleni, Dlabathi said the ruling party was not desperate for positions as he reiterated the importance of refining discussions before it embarked on a drastic move.  

Dlabathi said that although the two parties had agreed on the need to “take back the municipality”, it was important to agree on issues of principle which would guide their partnership.

“But at least, what is apparent is that the DA-led coalition is struggling. Service delivery is somehow taking a racial turn … townships are left behind under their watch,” said Dlabathi.

The EFF could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Last month, in an interview with News24, EFF leader Julius Malema said if his party was forced to choose between the ANC and DA ahead of the 2024 elections, it would choose the former.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Prepare for a political roller coaster ride as parties jostle for positions in municipal coalitions

“The ANC in 2024 needs a radical leftist coalition partner that will force its hand and say [that] if you don’t push [in] this direction, you will likely get John Steenhuisen as president, the same way you have these mayors in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane,” Malema was quoted as saying.

The ANC’s possible takeover was on Monday predicted by ActionSA’s Gauteng leader, Bongani Baloyi, after his party pulled out of the Joburg coalition.

Baloyi said his party would be taking a break from the DA in Joburg, but would forge ahead with the coalitions with the DA in Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.  

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

He did, however, say that the ANC would probably take back the Ekurhuleni metro, adding that the coalition only served as a minority government.

“We believe [Ekurhuleni] is the next municipality they are going to take over. We will leave it up to the senior party in the coalition to advise us about how to retain Ekurhuleni. As reality stands, our numbers put together in Ekurhuleni mean nothing.

“We have prepared our guys; at least this past weekend I prepared our structures in Ekurhuleni … so they must not be surprised,” Baloyi said.

The FF Plus caucus leader Jennifer Glover said they were unfazed by the developments.

“I think our coalition in Ekurhuleni is still quite stable. Even though we are a minority coalition, we understand what happened in Joburg, but we also take into consideration that the dynamics in the different metros are different. At this stage, the coalition partners in Ekurhuleni are working very well together.

“We are definitely looking forward, not backward. When something comes up, obviously we will deal with it when it comes, but at this stage there is no sign of the coalition coming to an end.”

Protests in Tembisa

Ekurhuleni’s mayor, Tania Campbell (DA), came under fire in August after protests in Tembisa in which four people died. The protests were over soaring electricity prices and changes to the supply of free basic electricity.

Dlabathi said Campbell had not delivered on the promise to reinstate free basic electricity for residents. He also accused her of interfering with issues outside of governance, including the realignment of portfolios. These were among the reasons the ANC and the party he would not name were of the view that Campbell was “not fit for purpose”.

Daily Maverick’s election analyst Wayne Sussman expressed similar sentiments about Ekurhuleni metro being likely to undergo a change of governance.

“Maybe the EFF don’t want to do this all at once, because then they are associated as the ANC’s junior partner, whereas the EFF thrives on unpredictability and therefore they become very predictable…”

Sussman said things were more complicated in the Tshwane coalition as it was relatively stable and the coalition was dependent on the support of the EFF. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Karsten Döpke says:

    Well this was a depressing read!
    South Africa can barely survive another 2 years of ANC rule, never mind an ANC EFF coalition in 2024.
    The only silver lining is that these developments in Johannesburg and Tshwane might wake people up to what might happen in the 2024 national elections.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    The gangster are taking over. South Africans should not be surprised. Everybody knew that Zuma was a dishonest crook yet he became President with the blessing of the majority. It is time that South Africans realise that crooks cannot be trusted.

  • Mike Blackburn says:

    EFF = Economic Flip Floppers

  • Johan Buys says:

    How did we get to this mess where party politics is such a thing in local government? My grandfather was councillor and mayor over a 40y period in a large city. I have some of his election posters : no party name. There were a handful of civic-minded directly elected councillors, the city was run by technocrats that delivered services (yes not equally well to all), and the councillors amounted to a non-executive board of oversight. Now councillors get parachuted in from party-blessed lists, armed with party policy and list of priority projects (priority of the cadres that will get the tenders). We must have 4000-5000 of these joke councillors running the country. We should get back to directly appointed local people that have no executive role in local councils at all. Cannot appoint anybody to anywhere or for any project. It is (almost) as bad in DA run towns as ANC ones. The blind leading the myopic.

  • Bryan Shepstone says:

    Our only hope is that Julius manages to digest the ANC before 2024…

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    Is there any actual evidence of what Dlabithi is claiming, or is it (surprise!) just voter-fodder rhetoric?
    “But at least, what is apparent is that the DA-led coalition is struggling. Service delivery is somehow taking a racial turn … townships are left behind under their watch,” said Dlabathi.

  • Paul T says:

    The ANC are experts at EFFing things up.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    What are the common denominators for takeovers – “Service delivery is somehow taking a racial turn … townships are left behind under their watch,” and DA is arrogant.

  • Chris Reed says:

    I can’t understand the fact that mayors can be thrown out because they don’t deliver’ on promises. Surely it’s the council who vote on aspects of services, it can’t just be the mayor’s decision?

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