Growing fears of election rerun in some municipalities as coalition talks fail

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There are growing fears of an election rerun of the 2021 Local Government Elections (LGE) in some municipalities. With only seven days remaining, the urgency to form coalition governments in the country’s hung municipalities is dire.

On Monday, the highly-anticipated coalition talks between the FF+, the DA, IFP, COPE, Action SA, the Patriotic Alliance, UDM, and the ACDP on Gauteng’s metros, fell through.

Voters remain in the dark on who will govern in some hung municipalities as coalition engagements yielded no results. The fate of more than 60 councils hangs in the balance as the tug-of-war for positions and municipalities continues.

This, despite a looming deadline for coalition agreements to be signed in the municipalities. Partiers have until the 23rd of November to reach these agreements.

Deadline approaches for political parties to finish coalition talks:

Voters had this to say.

“You know these people, they need us to vote but to me, these parties just fight each other. They fight, they fight, they fight and people end up not receiving service delivery,” says one of the voters.

“I feel very uncomfortable about the whole leadership. It makes me wonder if we really need to vote next time because, as a country, we are hopeless about the leadership,” says another voter.

“Sometimes compromises have to be made but the problem is there are no compromises being made for the people. It’s only made for the political parties themselves,” says another voter.

Some say they feel discouraged.

“Because of them not reaching agreements, I feel discouraged. They don’t encourage me to go and vote for the next elections because the expectation here is that they need to have some sort of an agreement for the sake of our services because I believe that each and every party that we have voted for, the expectation of the people that vote for that party was that they must come and deliver the services,” says another voter.

Political parties are pulled on polar ends, and the desperate need for services delivery is eclipsed.

On Tuesday, the EFF announced a breakdown in talks with the ANC while the Freedom Front Plus, Action SA, and the DA have vowed not to work with both the ANC and the EFF.

ANC in Northern Cape secures coalition agreements:

Meanwhile, the Patriotic Alliance that obtained about 3% of the votes in the City of Johannesburg has committed to working with the ANC across the country.

KwaZulu-Natal also saw a U-turn as the IFP announced that it will now work with the ANC.

Should political parties fail to find common ground, the Municipal Structures Act prescribes that the respective CoGTA MEC’s intervene with the appointment of an administrator or dissolve the council.

Local Government Expert, Tshepang Molale explains, “Within 14 days after the announcement of the election results, councillors need to sit and have a council meeting where they have to meet a quorum. This basically means that their first order of business would be to elect a council speaker and the municipal mayor. We know in hung councils, this is not the case because there is no one who is able to constitute a majority of 50%. Therefore, there are the so-called caretaker provisions, which are in the structures Act which tells us that in the case councillors are unable to reach this quorum because maybe coalition agreements were not had and now parties are not willing to work together then the Structures Act tells us that the MEC for local government in that province will have to appoint administrators that will work in that municipality to ensure the smooth running and operational functions of that municipality.”

IFP opts for a working coalition with ANC:

Should this fail, a rerun of the elections will be declared after 90 days.

Political Analyst, Ralph Mathekga believes this is eminent.

“It is going to happen. The thing is that even if you get those coalitions, the time it took to put together the coalition demonstrates that lack of coherence, of cohesiveness among political parties on a single message. We are not trying to set a policy on how we engage with cereal here, this is about service delivery where one does not expect so many world views. Parties are supposed to agree, but they don’t because of this politics.”

The implications for voters are far-reaching. A further delay in the delivery of basic services by municipalities already failing to ensure the provision of water, sanitation, and electricity.

LGE 2021 | Ongoing coalition talks on 70 hung municipalities with Dr Ntsikelelo Breakfast: