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55th NATIONAL CONFERENCE, PART TWO, ANALYSIS

ANC hints that a future coalition government could become a reality

ANC hints that a future coalition government could become a reality
ANC national conference rapporteur David Makhura. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

The ANC has cautioned against forming opportunistic coalitions for the sake of gaining power, and even hinted that it needed to prepare for a possible loss of majority support in the next general elections.

The ANC seems to have started entertaining the possibility of being relegated to the opposition benches — or at least forming a coalition government — in the future.

Briefing the media on resolution reports from commissions early on Friday, national conference rapporteur David Makhura said the party would not be part of coalitions for the sake of clinging to power, but that it would have to be done on the basis of shared values. 

Makhura said the party’s 55th national elective conference had agreed that coalitions were an important part of their tactics, but that the strategic objectives of the ANC were not going to change.

“We will work with those who agree with us on a range of issues… the development agenda, the transformation that needs to happen, the improvement of the quality of life that needs to happen,” he said. 

Makhura said the ANC would support legislation to ensure the stability of coalitions. 

Watch from 46:23 — Makhura talks about the party’s approach to coalition politics:

“We don’t want to be in power for its own sake,” said Makhura. 

“We don’t want to be in a coalition because we want to share the spoils of office… we want to have the potential and the possibility to use that power. 

“Nationally, if we should get there, or provincially, we should be looking at a common set of issues. We are basically saying, as the ANC conference, that we are not going to chase every (available) coalition partner just because we must be in government.

“If we have to be in opposition because we don’t want to be party to a group of coalitions that are rightwingers, we will choose to do so.”

In the 2021 local government elections, the ANC crashed out of power in Johannesburg, with the DA’s Mpho Phalatse becoming the first woman mayor of the city. 

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The ruling party also lost Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane. In eThekwini, the ANC dropped below 50% and is governing through a coalition. This is a municipality it won comfortably in the previous local government election.

Most recently, the ANC lost an outright majority in the troubled Ditsobotla municipality in North West.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “How the ANC-EFF partnership failed in Ekurhuleni and led to the re-election of Mayor Tania Campbell

The ANC’s downward spiral is expected to be reflected in the outcome of the general elections in 2024. In the 2019 elections, the party won with a reduced majority of 57.5%, down from 62.1% in the 2014 elections. 

Given the drop in support in previous national elections and the loss of five of eight metros, the prospect of the party securing less than 50% of the vote is not a far-fetched one, and it seems the ANC is starting to entertain the possibility of coalition deals in future.

South Africans are deeply frustrated with the unending Eskom blackouts that threaten their livelihoods, coupled with the high unemployment rate, corruption, crime and the deteriorating state of towns. Should this frustration be carried to the ballot paper, the ANC might again become the biggest loser as happened in the recent local elections.

Makhura said the issues would be finalised and consolidated by the National Executive Committee.

“We would have looked at the outcomes of the national elections and done further consultations to assess our strategic options.”

The party’s top officials are in Free State for the party’s anniversary celebrations on Sunday. The ANC was founded on 8 January 1912 and for many years the party used the occasion to release statements mapping out the main activities for the year ahead.

Newly re-elected party president Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to ask supporters of the former liberation movement to extend their support once again in 2024, as he continues with his stated task of renewing the ANC. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    “We will work with those who agree with us on a range of issues… the development agenda, the transformation that needs to happen, the improvement of the quality of life that needs to happen,”

    David, you don’t need parties who simply agree. You need parties who actually get the job done. May I propose the DA as the only sensible coalition partner – assuming of course that you are referring to the people of this country and not the ANC cadres.

  • Alan Salmon says:

    “We don’t want to be in power for its own sake,” said Makhura.
    “We don’t want to be in a coalition because we want to share the spoils of office…”
    Does he think we are all fools ??

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