Opinion: Much Talk About A Coalition

It’s rather unusual and somewhat bizarre, to say the least, that in the post-apartheid South Africa for the first time, the ruling party has to beg for attention in a coalition with parties it deemed shenanigans due to size et al. 

Well, the reality is that whether our elders like it or not, the political landscape in the country has dramatically changed. Smell the coffee. 

The current power sharing coalition in major cities in SA can be attributed to dismal failure of the African National Congress (ANC) to win majority and form Government without the smaller, ‘mickey-mouse’ parties. 

The ANC, Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are now at the centre of power sharing coalition post 2016 LGE. The platinum query is whether or not the power sharing coalition will be of positive value to the communities in the affected municipalities? 

The setback of power sharing coalition will, among other things, include weaker or a less decisive Government (confused Government). It may be difficult for political control to be implemented when the DA, ANC and EFF are all involved. 

This is because despite the differences in percentages, and in respect of the outcome of local Government elections and the total number of seats each party secured, all political parties (DA, EFF and ANC) expected to trot fairly and equally. 

This could be improbable given the nature of politics and may result in great deal of instability within Government.

However, for peacekeeping sake, there must be an effective way to manage conflict and dispute in order for coalition partnership to survive; precisely at the Nelson Mandela Bay, City of Tshwane and City of Johannesburg. 

The same applies for smaller municipalities such as those in predominantly poor rural communities such as Thabazimbi, Mookgopong, Lephalale and Mokopane et al. One may argue that coalition Government may work better since the political parties join together to form a united front while retaining their unique and somewhat intellectual ideologies. It may however, also prove to be difficult to achieve true unity between desperate parties. 

From a distance, we may predict that the conflicting ideologies will be the source of internal conflicts and disputes that will eventually disturb the local Government service machinery. In these circumstances, political parties in coalition will have no choice but to often compromise their ideologies in order to meet at common ground for public policy. E.g. DA, ANC & EFF are most likely not to agree on land policy and nationalisation of mines.  Needless to say,  it may be suicidal for smaller parties to enter into power sharing coalition without proper political guidance. Nonetheless, the power sharing coalition may greatly benefit the communities in that the undemocratic or controversial legislation has considerably less chance of being passed because of greater scrutiny over public policy. 

We await with bated breath for the promised services. The time for action is Now! 

Koketso Marishane writes as a concerned citizen.

Related Articles