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The potholed and dangerous coalition roads ahead of the ANC’s stuttering electoral truck

The potholed and dangerous coalition roads ahead of the ANC’s stuttering electoral truck
From left: ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Leila Dougan) | EFF leader Julius Malema. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

Over the past week, there has been consistent reporting that the ANC is considering ending its working agreements with the EFF. As the relationship between these two parties is one of the most dominant political dynamics in SA, this is hugely significant. If the ANC follows through, it would weaken the EFF while also having a significant impact on the ANC.

Last week, Daily Maverick’s Queenin Masuabi broke the story that ANC National Executive Committee member David Makhura had given a presentation to the party’s leadership in which he recommended it cease working with the EFF. Part of his reasoning is that the EFF is using these agreements to win votes at the expense of the ANC.

ANC NEC supports cutting ties with ‘dictatorial’ EFF and pro-Israel PA in municipal coalitions

In the same presentation, he also suggested that the ANC no longer work with the Patriotic Alliance because of its strong support for Israel, while the ruling party has a long history of solidarity with Palestine.

Makhura’s initiative has important implications.

First, the ANC has always been divided on the question of working with the EFF — it is one of the most divisive issues that the party faces.

Some, including Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, clearly believe there is much to be gained from the cooperation agreement. Lesufi, who is faced with the certain prospect of the ANC falling below 50% in the provincial elections next year, has to find a coalition partner. And working with the EFF provides a good foundation for him to remain premier next year.

However, many in the ANC see this differently.

In April, the ANC Veterans League suggested working with the EFF was bad for the ANC, and that working with the DA would be better in the longer term.

By May, the ANC and the EFF were making public claims about each other’s programmes relating to job opportunities that involved picking up litter.

In Ekurhuleni, where the two work together with a mayor from a minor party, the relationship has long been tense, with the ANC’s regional leadership pleading with the province to be allowed to end it.

Even ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula, who has had a long relationship with EFF leader Julius Malema, has suggested that it may be time to end the relationship.

Of course, Makhura’s analysis, that the EFF is using these power-sharing agreements to grow at the expense of the ANC is correct. It is only because of these agreements that the EFF’s Nkululeko Dunga and Mgcini Tshwaku have such high profiles.

Last week, Dunga was involved in a crash in which a motorcyclist was killed. The ANC caucus in Ekurhuleni claimed that he was being driven in a private car in a blue-light motorcade, and questioned why this was the case. News24 reported that he was being treated in a private hospital, which raises questions about the EFF’s commitment to living the same lives that most South Africans do.

Why would the members of a party dress in red uniforms designed to mimic the lives of their target voters and then use a private hospital?

Loss of key positions

The first consequence of an ANC decision to end the cooperation agreements could be that its members lose key positions, such as the MMC for finance in Joburg.

It would also enable the DA-dominated Multi-Party Charter parties to again form coalitions in the metros of Joburg and Ekurhuleni.

The immediate cost would be high, but in the longer term it could work out for the ANC, which may be able to regain power by blaming problems in these metros on the DA-led coalitions.

For the EFF, the consequences are greater.

Much of Malema’s assumed political power is based on the assumption that the EFF could be in a national coalition next year. If that prospect disappears from the table, then he and the EFF could end up with no real power, reduced to being a nuisance in the national Parliament, a skill at which they admittedly excel.

It would also show that Malema’s boast in Parliament, “I’m in charge, I’ve got you by the scrotum. There is nothing you can do, nothing, all of you combined,” is just another empty threat.

There is another important issue.

By ending its cooperation agreements with the EFF, the ANC would be showing that it will not work with, as Makhura said, a “proto-fascist” party that often opposes the Constitution — a Constitution that the ANC negotiated. 

It would suggest the ANC would base future decisions about coalitions on whether a possible partner supports the Constitution — enabling the ANC to work with the DA, but never the EFF. 

The Patriotic Alliance

Then there is the introduction of the issues around the Patriotic Alliance.

Here, Makhura says the fact this party strongly supports Israel means the ANC should not work with it.

The nature of the PA’s stated support for Israel, as its leader Gayton McKenzie put it to News 24 — “We would rather be out of power than be on the side of baby killers, shooters of innocent youth. Hamas is a terrorist organisation, period.” — suggests there is no room for negotiation on this issue.

The conflict between Palestine and Israel goes so deeply into elements of the identities of many South Africans that it is impossible to change minds, or sometimes even to discuss the issues calmly. Certainly, it is a very difficult issue for coalition partners who have taken different sides.

Were the ANC to refuse to work with the PA on this basis, it would be able to argue that it is doing so on a basis of principle, which could resonate with some voters.

ANC leaders will be thinking ahead to next year’s elections and for some, the short-term gains of working with the EFF and the PA may not be worth the longer-term risks.

The real issue in the ANC is not about who supports working with the EFF and who doesn’t, but what the better strategy is ahead of the elections — something on which the ANC is likely to base many of its decisions.  

Our politics is going to be extremely volatile for the next few months, with much uncertainty about what will happen in some of the bigger metros.

And, despite all of the politicking, there is more chance of the All Blacks travelling back in time to win the World Cup final, than there is of the supply of water and electricity and the state of roads improving in the short term, together with the restoration of hope and the alleviation of poverty. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • William Kelly says:

    Ermmmm…. Nooooooo. Sorry Mr G. The cANCer will do what it has always done. They will never, ever, put a long term strategy in place over a short term gain. Here. Now. This is all that matters in everything that they do. They will sell their gogos to Julius via VBS in a heartbeat if it gives them a day’s longer in power, a day longer to kick the can down the road (a term I am growing to loathe). Every single action they have taken demonstrably backs this – if you have any evidence to the contrary I am happy to read it. So no. Expediency will rule the day. And only this.
    Suspect that to that end the PA is being setup for ditching, so that the EFF can be kept as ‘allies’ on the down low. Voters really are that naive I am afraid. It will end the ANC as the EFF will chew them up and spit them out for breakfast until Kiddie Amin gets his presidency. But that’s in the future. Here and now is a different story, the only story that matters. Working with the DA? Ha! I’ll believe it when I see it but shan’t be holding my breath.

    • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

      It is a patent lie that Malema has anything to do with VBS that is peddled by the elements of the media driven by the hatred of the EFF. Their clouded views are such that they are willing to overlook those fingered in the report by the Reserve Bank who are ANC leaders and Cyril Ramaphosa supporters like Florence Radzilani and others who have not been charged. These journalists were not satisfied that the report did not name the EFF and Malema as involved. The fact that there was no single council involved run by the EFF did not stop these media thugs from seeking to find a connection with the EFF. The racists have now joined in seeking to link what has no bearing to Malema despite the report publicly being available. The worse thing is to have a corrupt Makhura who has burnt evidence of the health department corruption, corruption in his office as Premier. In addition, we have Makhura involved in the Covid corruption in Gauteng where hostel beds were said by the DA to be bought from Ellerines for Nasrec, a R500 million corruption for repairs of a hospital in Carletonville given in good condition by a mine. He has an IT tender corruption stench following him. He accuses EFF of gaining traction for delivery which is very strange. The outcomes of the elections are not going to be determined by what Makhura says but precisely because of the ANC itself and corruption as it has been the case before. This would include the perpetual blackouts and poor service delivery.

      • Edward Visser says:

        Very cunning Cunningham, but please remove those Rose Coloured Speckticals and the truth is there (you do have to read a few newspaper’s and not just what you hear at the eff rallies) and you talk about racists omg.

    • Mike C says:

      My view entirely, extraction rather than production as the route to wealth creation is hard-wired into the ANC – it’s part of their DNA.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    The ANC has a choice:
    1/ Co-operate with the DA, and end up an honourable opposition party.
    2/ Co-operate with the EFF, and end up sucking hind tit.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    When one saw the heading, one became interested in the contents and was very disappointed because what one was expecting from the heading was not in the contents of the article. One was interested on what the issues would be on the ballot next year that would determine the outcomes of elections. These issue are well understood by all political parties and analysts and are far removed from the drivel of Makhura who suffers from political listeriosis. The issue include mainly but not limited to, electricity blackouts, immigration , poor service delivery that includes potholes, sewage running on the streets, health, education, transport that involves PRASA, corruption and failures of leadership. These issues will be on the ballot next year along with other issues not what Makhura was reporting on to the ANC NEC as reported by Daily Maverick. The fact that the ANC has not acted on his report is because they see it for what it truly is, drivel. The other issue one expected from Stephen Grootes was the disaggregation of the polls by Brenthurst and the Social Group into Provinces and parties and explain the differences in their polls. For instance why is Brenthurst putting the EFF at 17% and the other group put them at 9%. What one was expecting were new parties like Rise Mzantsi and Bosa and where they would be and where will their votes come from and why. This would lay the basis for what coalitions would emerge but he has failed dismally because of his anti EFF politics.

  • Con Tester says:

    Yoh, besides a wild barrage of tu quoque fallacies, that red lens sure does create a panoply of seriously weird and warped hallucinations! 😂

  • William H says:

    Unfortunately the ANC’s undisputed track record of destroying everything they touch doesn’t bode well for their future decisions. The wise/correct choice would be to rather climb into bed with the DA, or any party other than the EFF. One can only hope that the ANC, for once, will make the right choice.

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