Coalition talks under way in KwaZulu-Natal

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Coalition talks among political parties in KwaZulu-Natal are well under way with special attention focused on the province’s 21 hung municipalities. It has the most hung municipalities in the country.

Breakdown of hung municipalities:

It’s the first time since 1996 that the ANC will be forced to go into a coalition in the eThekwini Municipality, an area regarded as its stronghold.

The party lost their outright majority in the metro receiving 42 percent of the vote, down from 56 percent in 2016.

Coalition talks are likely to see some parties eating humble pie, as others put forward stringent conditions including the sharing of positions in councils and even policy shifts on certain matters.

On Thursday, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal held a special meeting around how it would approach the impending coalitions.

In the metro where the ANC has 96 seats, it needs a further 16 seats for a majority.

In 1996, the party teamed up with smaller parties, the Minority Front and the United Democratic Front to take control of the city.

Now it may have to approach the bigger parties, like the EFF, with 24 seats and the IFP with 16 seats, to regain control.

ANC KZN Spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela says the provincial leadership has set up a team to lead coalition talks.

“So, the team as of yesterday after our meeting will be starting the engagement with other parties. At this stage, our view as the ANC is that the DA stands for everything we are opposed to. So there is no such conclusive view on the engagement on our part at this stage, but if they do approach us like other parties we will listen to what they have to say. But we are clear as the ANC.”

The IFP says it would be open to a coalition government on a case-by-case basis. But that it would not work with corrupt or racist parties.

In 2011, a coalition between the ANC and the NFP, nearly decimated the IFP in the province’s north.

IFP chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Thamsanqa Ntuli, says the party’s National Council will meet this weekend to discuss coalitions.

“Pertaining the negotiations with other political parties in those hung municipalities, it is a programme of the national leadership that will make a decision as to who they will be talking to. However, as the IFP we are ready to serve the people of those different municipalities in KZN.”

Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu believes the ANC would prefer to work with the IFP over other parties.

The ANC has in the past worked with the IFP during a government of national unity both nationally and in KwaZulu-Natal.

But, Mngomezulu says the coalition talks are likely to come with conditions.

“There is no way that the ANC will have the DA as the first party to go to, so in the case of KwaZulu-Natal, what would work best in my view would be a coalition between the ANC and the IFP. You would recall that the EFF has pushed the IFP one level down, so it means then that one of the parties that should be considered is the EFF, but if we had to compare the EFF and the IFP, my view is what will work best is a relationship/ or a coalition between ANC and IFP.”

There were challenges with coalitions in the past. A coalition between the ANC and NFP in Nquthu after the 2011 municipal election was short-lived, due to disagreements between councillors. This resulted in the dissolution of the entire council by the KwaZulu-Natal government

VIDEO: LGE 2021 – Conversation on possible coalitions: