Cape Town - With 15 hung councils in the province where the DA has failed to chalk up a 50% plus majority, the party has begun turning its mind to the difficult process of building coalitions.
After burning its fingers in unstable coalitions in municipalities such as Bitou, and Kannaland over the past five years, the party has hit on the idea of asking potential partners in any coalition to sign formal legal contracts and looks like other parties are of the same mind.
DA provincial leader Albert Fritz said for hung council situations the DA has a federal plan with a coalition contract that will be driven by the Federal Executive (FedEx).
The contracts, which will have input from party leaders such as Fritz, will have to be signed off by the DA FedEx to ensure that stable arrangements are produced.
“It is the first time we’re doing this and it will be done in a very systematic, structured way with a proper contractual agreement with a very specific contract between the partners.
“This will help us keep each one held accountable. If you break or breach the contract we will have to act on it, legally. If you breach then we need to see if we continue or not,” said Fritz.
ANC spokesperson Sifiso Mtsweni said there are currently discussions at national ANC level in terms of how to get political parties to work together, particularly in the context of the Western Cape where there are so many hung municipalities.
“The ANC in the province has mandated a delegation led by the Provincial Convenor Cde Lerumo Kalako to begin the process of engaging with other political parties with a view to investigate possibilities of coalition governments.
“The approach of the ANC will always be that of those who share our broad principles of non racialism, non sexism, pro-poor and a strict adherence to the rule of law amongst others.
“The only party that has chaotic coalitions is the DA. What the DA does is it goes and makes certain undertakings to smaller parties, goes into government and then reneges every time. That’s why people want signed agreements,” said Mtsweni.
Good mayoral candidate Brett Herron said the party stood by its position taken during the campaigns that it will negotiate if necessary and on the basis of what the outcome will be for its voters.
“I think formal agreements are absolutely essential, we wouldn’t enter a coalition without an agreement because it is important that you agree upfront what the outcome will be of that coalition.
“Without that kind of agreement then it is just a coalition of expediency and we don’t want to be part of those. We want to know what the coalition government is going to achieve and how disputes and disagreements will be resolved,” said Herron.
Freedom Front Plus mayoral candidate Lennit Max said: “A formal coalition would be a good thing. We can’t afford loose coalitions because then you play with the interests of your voters and your mandate.