With the results of the 1 November local government elections now official, coalitions will now inform South African politics at a local government level for at least the next 5 years. Around a third of the country’s 270 municipalities will require coalitions, failing which, new by-elections will have to be held in areas where coalitions are not able to be form. All parties have already hinted at coalitions, with differing demands as some seek to bolster their chances in the 2024 national and provincial poll, while others use coalitions to gain money, influence and positions. Terry Tselane, a former deputy at the IEC has argued for regularising coalitions, while others have called for coalition agreements to be made public.
Speaking to Radio Islam International, Professor Amanda Gouws compared the current South African situation, with other countries. She argued that different to European countries, South African political parties are more interested in power and influence, and will likely not seek ideological compromise in the name of service delivery. “I think what you’re going to see is really difficult talks, and then in the beginning, a lot of instability… in other countries where governments are coalition governments, these have different ideologies but they compromise around the issue of service delivery… in this country parties don’t really think about this… They prioritize their own self-interest.”
She also noted that smaller parties can play the role of king maker, something which the EFF does very well. In addition, she argued that this can assist oversight, but questioned whether this would have an actual impact on service delivery in the country’s many dysfunctional municipalities.
In relation to the ANC’s poor performance in KZN, she argued, contrary to the common narrative, that voters were expressing their dissatisfaction with the July looting, specifically in relation to the fact that many saw the ANC as contributing to the looting, and not necessary Zuma supporters, “I think what we’re seeing here is the backlash about the insurrection or what’s called [the] insurrection or protest… People have lost their jobs, The economy in KZN has suffered tremendously and people are suffering… whatever party was responsible for instigating this type of violence, the voters are saying we’ve had enough, If the ANC was part of this, we’ve had enough.”