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South African opposition parties forge ahead with political coalitions

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
14 August 2023 | 11:00am SAST
2 min read

As South Africa gears up for its upcoming elections next year, opposition political parties are embarking on a delicate journey of forming coalitions in an attempt to challenge the ruling ANC’s longstanding dominance. Recent developments reveal that a coalition of various parties is on the horizon, as highlighted in an interview on Radio Islam International political analyst Kim Heller.

The coalition talks have gained momentum, with a significant announcement yesterday regarding the inclusion of the Independent South African National Civic Organisation (ISANCO) into the coalition. This coalition, known as the “Moonshot Pact,” already consists of parties such as the Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Freedom Front Plus (FF), ActionSA, United Independent Movement (UIM), and the Spectrum National Party (SNP). ISANCO’s addition makes it the seventh political party set to participate in the upcoming national convention, scheduled for this week in Kempton Park.

ISANCO’s emergence as a political player is notable due to its split from the ANC-aligned South African National Serving Organization (SANCO) in 2021. The decision to break away was motivated by SANCO’s perceived inability to address corruption within the ruling alliance. In the 2021 local government elections, ISANCO managed to secure 14 council seats, a noteworthy achievement in areas that were traditionally dominated by the ANC.

Heller expressed scepticism about the potential impact of the Moonshot Pact, characterising it as a coalition of smaller, right-wing parties that might struggle to make substantial gains against the ANC. She questioned whether the collective strength of these parties would surpass their individual capabilities and speculated that their influence might be limited to a few municipalities where the ANC’s performance was weak.

The conversation also touched on the possibility of coalition dynamics, with Heller suggesting that the ANC and DA might eventually form a coalition.

“…If I understand the nature of coalition parties now… I think were going to see a coalition between the ANC and the DA. And that is going to transform the complexion and character of politics across the national and metropolitan landscape,” Heller said.

However, Heller underscored that the ANC’s desperation to maintain power could lead to alliances with various parties, potentially including the EFF. The analyst acknowledged that the core concern seemed to be the pursuit of power rather than the well-being of the electorate, reflecting a potentially unstable and contentious political landscape.

Addressing the role of the EFF in coalition negotiations, Heller noted their strategic sophistication. She emphasised that the EFF could emerge as a “kingmaker,” strategically assessing the evolving political environment before making decisive moves. The EFF’s willingness to collaborate with parties that might not align with their ideological stance demonstrated their tactical approach to achieving political advantage.

As the political terrain remains fluid, Heller’s analysis brought attention to the broader implications of these coalitions. She pointed out that the pursuit of power among parties could lead to instability, compromising effective governance and the well-being of citizens. Heller also noted that the ANC’s trajectory and willingness to form alliances could shape the outcome of the elections, emphasising that principled politics appeared to be taking a backseat to party power struggles.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaiman Ravat here.

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