At a meeting on Sunday 7 August 2016, members of the UDM, EFF, Cope and UF forged a collective guide on how to engage with the ANC and the DA with a view to the possible forging of coalitions.
The 2016 Municipal Election was a watershed for our country with the advent of a possible co-operation of political parties. Emphatically, the electorate have spoken loudly against one-party arrogant dominance, corruption, nepotism, the disregard of the rule of law, the failure to provide basic quality services, and mediocity in the sea of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
In this regard, they have in not less than 27 municipalities decided to test all political parties’ commitment to the need for a caring government. They have done so by reducing the dominance of the ruling party and by refusing to endorse any other party as an automatic alternative to governing.
Certainly, the policies and the performance of the ruling party as a government have received a strong critique and, more important, a sense of how best to address the challenges faced by South Africa has also been given a platform.
South Africans are mindful of the dangers that are inherent in a one-party dominant state and believe that the best way of securing the Constitution and, with it, the future success of South Africa is a commitment by all political parties to co-operative governance through coalitions. The envisaged co-operation creates a possibility for a platform to agree on minimum to maximum actions in response to the triple challenges confronting South Africa. Indeed, this is a great and significant shift in the body polity of our nation.
Co-operation also demands that the parties recognise that the time is opportune for a re-alignment of South African politics led by parties who can lead social forces brought together by a shared commitment to a new vision and policy agenda for South Africa.
We will engage in discussion that will advance the interests of all citizens towards a common platform and unity in action.
In this regard, the parties welcome the discussions with all other parties that are interested in the service of the people. Accordingly, we view these discussions to be more about co-operation of political parties in the servicing of the citizens.
In whatever co-operation we agree on, we shall always be connected with the base of its support and be true and diligent representatives of their cause and aspirations. Any co-operation must at all time respect the views of the electorate as expressed through the ballot paper.
We shall not go into a political marriage where we are destined to be swallowed up or serve other political parties’ agenda, but will remain true to our vision and mission as independent parties, and will favourably consider participation in a major realignment of policies.
Co-operation (coalition) based on a common agenda
We believe that the glue that must bind all political parties is the commitment to provide basic services to all citizens irrespective of their socio-economic circumstances. Of immediate necessity is the agreement on the following”
1. Service delivery relate matters
2. Budget Implications/ review
Among other things to be agreed on as a matter of urgency is the review budget so that it responds to the issues raised above. National and provincial governments are already in the process of the mid-term budget review and municipalities will be entering this process very soon as they have just adopted IDPs and budget two months ago. Accordingly, as parties we strongly agree that the next six months should be used to review and realign budgets in order to ensure maximum resourcing of the above priorities.
3. Constitutional Reforms
In this regard, the parties felt very strongly that while other matters are of a long-term nature, very clear and binding time frames must be agreed to by all. We further propose a firm commitment among all political parties to the convening of an urgent National Convention, led by political parties and all other social partners, to consider and resolve the following, among others:
At the centre of the proposed National Convention should be how best to address the urgent need of economic emancipation of all citizens, in particular the historically disadvantaged individuals and groups.
4. Further issues
It is common knowledge that South Africans have registered their displeasure with how government has been using the available resources. In this regard, co-operation must also look at how the size of the Cabinet reinforces the need to spare resource and redirect them to service delivery. Parties are firmly proposing a review and realignment of Cabinet functions with the intention of reducing the size of the Cabinet.
The appointment of mayors and other political heads at local government must appreciate the need to a working co-operation. In this regard, the parties may have to consider whether the executive mayoral system is best suited to deliver, or the executive committee systems. Whatever we may agree on, central should be a system that recognises all participants while ensuring fewer bottlenecks in servicing the people. It must also place the people at the centre of their own development.
This also applies to the appointment of municipal officials from the municipal managers to other managers and lower staff members. The purpose must be to keep public service as a professional function and always separate the state from a political party.
A co-operation by all political parties is what South Africans have called for in these elections. Accordingly, parties that agree on what has to be done going forward must ensure delivery of efficient and effective services to the people, and pursue unity of purpose in earnest. Perhaps the saying: Individually you are fierce warriors, but when you fight as one you are most powerful better, sums up the approach.
We must enter into co-operation on objectives that do not derail the mandate of the electorate and our manifestos. In the crafting of a framework for possible co-operation, it must be clear upfront why it is desirable for us to embark on that as both a tactical and strategic way forward.
Centrally, any coalition/co-operation requires a strong commitment to the need to service the people, thus putting community first. DM
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