The election dust have barely settled and the new mayor of Ekurhuleni Mr Mzwandile Masina is already on a warpath. He is the only ANC mayoral candidate in Gauteng to survive the DA/EFF onslaught in the metros. Interestingly, like DA’s Solly Msimang and Herman Mashaba, he also attained power through coalitions with other parties. The ANC MUST do well Ekurhuleni in the next five years or risk losing the province and possibly the country. Any failures will hand the province to the DA on a silver platter, unless the EFF secures a good deal with the ANC at national level. Of course, the ANC was elated with their retention of Ekurhuleni, but a bird’s eye view of the election in Gauteng should concern the ANC. Instead of being humbled by the outcome, Masina have come out guns blazing. He is apportioning blame on the media and some funders elsewhere. This is and a wrong start and it intensifies the arrogance narrative of the ANC. Firstly, to self-correct, one must acknowledge one’s shortcomings. Secondly, blaming media for feeding wrong information to the nation implies that the electorate is stupid. Thirdly, there were/are service delivery protests in Ekurhuleni, voters have shown that they do consider both local and national issues when voting. The narrative of being a liberation movement thereby giving the ANC an inherent right to govern internally is improbable. It is for the ANC to serve the people and not the other way around. He wonders, why the media not questions the apartheid corruption and so forth. This is a lost political narrative, especially for a party in a quest to regain the trust of voters. Masina’s political immaturity is a gift for the opposition parties and he holds the key for the ANC’s undoing. News agencies will not stop writing unfavourable news against the ANC, bad news sells and the sooner that he grasps this concept/idea the better.
Most people think that the EFF/DA partnership is more fragile than the ANC/AIC/PAC coalition. Nonetheless, I am not convinced. The EFF/DA partnership is issue based, whilst the ANC is purported to have secured coalition deals on a promise to change national functionary’s decisions. Should the ANC lose Gauteng in 2019, E-tolls surely, could be sold to the highest bidder to retain power. Interestingly, it took the loss of power of the ANC for them to consider releasing PAC political prisoners, if such demands exits. Had it not been for the loss of power, the PAC would still be in the same predicament of having their comrades incarcerated for liberating the country. Hopefully, the Kenny Motsamai parole conditions was part of the deal. Likewise, the promise of reversing a national competency decision to relocate Matatiele back to KZN was enough for AIC to give the ANC its votes to govern Ekurhuleni. To safeguard themselves, the smaller parties probably requested their demands to be put in writing and positions being the cherry on top of the coalition cake. We do not know for sure what the ANC coalition deals entails, but it is clear, state patronage has become a valuable asset within our political circles. The DA used it as bait to swallow Patricia De Lille’s ID. That shows the complexity the EFF found itself in when it gave its votes to the DA for “FREE” in return of a weakened ANC. To leverage on the votes trading game, does not necessarily require one to be in power, but to have power. That is why the EFF, PAC and AIC amongst others, had big says as to whom governs the hotly contested Gauteng metros. The power game will continue until the next local government elections, and hopefully, the entire setup will benefit the voters.
The challenge with the votes trading game is that it creates confusion and anger amongst voters, as we saw with some EFF – ANC supporters shouting sell-out assertions. For the governing party, power trading deals could render it untrustworthy within communities or being questioned when proposing certain policies. Certain state functionaries like the demarcation board, could also be rendered insignificant if its decisions can be reversed or traded for power. Communities could resist certain decisions because they would know, it’s just a bait to aid future election loses. This basically implies that the governing party’s initiatives and decisions, are not only to improve service delivery, but also, to safeguard the party’s grip on/of power. It sets a precarious trend for any governing party. At some point, the DA was prepared to sacrifice Zille in order to swallow Agang. Interestingly, when the EFF raised the Mashaba alarm in Johannesburg, the DA did not budge. Also, the EFF gave the ANC a choice between Tshwane – Johannesburg and Zuma, the party chose Zuma. The Zuma choice means less deployment for loyal cadres, loss of avenues to implement party manifesto and letting go of Africa’s economic hub. Was it worth it? Coalition demands that touch the constitution, like changing the property clause, are possible in the near future depending on the governing party’s election setbacks. At the end of it, it would seem the more power the ANC loses, the more radical it will become. Therefore, one can infer that the EFF decision to vote for the DA have somehow aided their radical agenda. It also shows that should the status-quo of the ANC vote in Gauteng prevail in 2019, it would be possible for the EFF to force the ANC to change the constitution in 2019, especially if, combined, they make a two thirds majority.
By Sivodlo Silombo
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