Wednesday, 17 August 2016

South Africa: ANC's coalition overtures rejected, loses metros By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town


Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema. Photo© Herman Verwey/AP/SIPA
LEADER OF THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS (EFF) JULIUS MALEMA. PHOTO© HERMAN VERWEY/AP/SIPA
South Africa's ruling African National Congress' efforts to hang on to three major metros after a disappointing performance in recent local government elections suffered a major blow on Wednesday after a break-away party rebuffed coalition overtures.
ANC needed a coalition with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by its former youth leader Julius Malema for it to be able to form a government in the Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane metros.
We do not suffer from uncontrollable ambitions for power
The EFF emerged as a power broker after the ANC performed dismally in the polls on the back of a strong showing by the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
Malema told journalists in Johannesburg on Wednesday that instead of forming a coalition with the ANC, the EFF would vote with other opposition parties that had chances of winning control of different councils in the country based on their electoral performance.
"We are not co-governing," Malema said as he announced the outcome of talks with the ANC. "We are voting for the opposition, this is the start of removing the ANC from power."
He added: "There is no political agreement. We have not signed anything. So there will be minority governments."
The hotly contested elections produced 27 hung councils around the country as no political party received more than 50 percent of the vote.
Both the ANC and DA were courting the EFF for them to form governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay metros that were previously held by the ruling party.
Malema said in Kwazulu-Natal the party would vote with the Inkatha Freedom Party. In Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Johannesburg, and Ekurhuleni, the party would go with the DA.
Malema said their demands for a coalition with the ANC included land expropriation and nationalisation of mines as well as banks. The party also wanted the removal of President Jacob Zuma from power. "The ANC said it is a no, no," he said.
Malema said talks to form a coalition with the DA failed because the party was non-committal on EFF's demands to expropriate land.
"Also, we asked them to help us to nationalise banks and remove the anthem, Die Stem," he said. "They were ready to talk. (DA leader) Mmusi (Maimane) says it is like asking Jews to sing a Nazi song."
Malema said they would support other opposition parties on the election of mayors and their deputies without signing any binding agreements with them.
"We do not suffer from uncontrollable ambitions for power," Malema said. "We will influence the municipalities from opposition benches."
The August elections have been described as the most closely fought poll since the end of apartheid in 1994. ANC's support at 53, 9 percent was the lowest ever for the liberation movement.
In Gauteng, the country's economic hub - ANC's support stood at 46 percent in 2016, compared to 60 percent in 2011.
On the other hand, support for the DA increased from 33 percent to 37 percent during the same period. EFF received 11 percent of the vote in the region.
Meanwhile, Malema accused some EFF members of trying to pressure the party into joining coalition governments for personal gain.
"We are building this organisation, building it slowly, teaching our members not to love positions. EFF is not a home for opportunists," he said.
Malema was fired from the ANC for repeatedly attacking its leaders in public.


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