South Africa

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DA weighing up working with ANC to find common ground on coalition legislation – Chief Whip

DA weighing up working with ANC to find common ground on coalition legislation – Chief Whip
DA leader John Steenhuisen. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach) | ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

The opposition’s Chief Whip says the party wants to have an ‘open discussion’ with the ANC to ensure a legal framework is in place in the event of coalitions being formed after the 2024 national elections.

The DA says it is considering lobbying for the ANC’s support in passing legislation that could enhance the state of coalition governments at local, provincial and national level. 

The DA’s three proposed Bills will require amendments to the country’s Constitution, meaning it would need a two-thirds majority – which can only be achieved by twisting the ANC’s arm into partnering with them.

The ANC holds the majority in Parliament with 230 seats, which with the DA’s 84 seats will be enough to ensure that the legislation will be passed.

Speaking to Daily Maverick on Tuesday, DA Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube said the first piece of legislation is centred on limiting the number and circumstances under which motions of no confidence in a mayor, premier or the president can be moved. The other two cover extending the deadline by which governments must be formed and increasing electoral thresholds at a local government level. 

The DA first announced its intention to introduce these Bills in October 2022. The two Bills ready for deliberation in Parliament are the Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill and the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill.

DA Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube. (Photo: Supplied)

“The reality here is that we need the ANC to support this Bill for it to pass. We are wanting to have a very open discussion with the ANC leadership. The legislation is probably going to be introduced in Parliament in a week or so and we are more than happy to introduce the Bills as Committee Bills,” Gwarube said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC’s coalition framework paints a bleak picture for DA and EFF in next year’s polls

She explained that it was important for these Bills to be passed as soon as possible since there was a strong possibility of the ANC’s dropping below 50% of the vote, which would require coalitions to be formed at a national level. 

“It is in their best interest to have an insurance policy, a legal framework to say that regardless of how fair next year, at the very least we know what to do. It has nothing to do with whether they want to work with us; it is just a pragmatic way of saying, here is a piece of legislation and we are all going to need it. We do not think that any single party is going to have a majority next year. So, we are very dispassionate about saying, take on the Bill if you want, but we need this kind of legal framework,” Gwarube said. 

The state of coalitions at local level have been a major concern with constant motions of no confidence launched against Mayors and Speakers. In the City of Johannesburg, infighting between political parties, has seen council elect its fifth mayor since the 2021 local elections. 

The instability can partially be blamed for the poor service delivery that residents have had to endure. 

“We have seen the instability at a local level and we are of the view that if that was replicated at a national level, we will soon become a joke. It is incumbent on Parliament to start now thinking about what happens when we find ourselves with provincial or even national coalition governments, and that’s why we have started doing the work of looking at international best practice to see what has worked and what has not worked in different countries,” Gwarube said.

The ANC and DA might differ on a number of matters – but they might find some common ground on the issue of increasing electoral thresholds.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Can the Democratic Alliance dislodge the ANC from power in 2024?

At the ANC’s 55th conference at the end of last year, the party’s resolutions supported this move, based on how the current proportional representation system had given immense power to small parties. 

“Amendments to the Electoral Act [to] be considered such as introducing thresholds requiring parties to have a base level of support before being awarded seats in legislatures or improving the formula for proportional representative seats to only go to those that win the full quota of votes for one seat,” the ANC’s document on legislature and governance reads.

The governing party resolved that Cooperative Governance MECs should introduce changes to Section 12 notices to make such municipalities Executive Committee systems, as opposed to their current status as Mayoral Executive systems. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Easy Does It says:

    Certainly a proactive move which will be seen by the anc as accepting defeat and Jesus is coming.

  • Daniel Cohen says:

    Essential but I’m not holding my breath

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    As a citizen one can only stumble helplessly through the howling political winds endlessly whipping up the stormy sea in which our beautiful country is busy drowning.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    This again demonstrates that the DA has the interests of the electorate at heart and, by these proposed bills, is aiming to build stable coalitions so that governance at all levels will be able to plan and see to fruition infrastructure projects that are required throughout South Africa. The ANC/EFF pantomime coalitions exist solely to oppose the DA’s efforts to provide governance stability.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    The ANC won’t agree to anything unless they are pretty sure it will entrench their position not weaken it.

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