Political parties in Lichtenburg say they will be guided by their national leadership on possible coalitions

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Political parties represented in the Ditsobotla Local Municipality in Lichtenburg in the North West say they will take guidance from their national leadership on possible coalitions. No party could secure an outright majority in the by-elections last week.

The by-election in the troubled Ditsobotla Local Municipality saw 15 political parties and an independent candidate battle it out for the 39 municipal council seats. The African National Congress (ANC) lost four of their 20 seats, making way for opposition parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

However, none of the parties secured an outright majority. Political analyst from the North West University, Professor Andre Duvenhage says possible coalitions are on the cards.

“No party has achieved an absolute majority, coalition politics will be the name of the game. The question, however is how will these coalitions be formed? We know that the ANC is a lot closer to the EFF than parties like the DA and a few other. But it will be interesting, specifically after the win of Cyril Ramaphosa which may impact on coalition politics because we are not expecting coalition politics on a national and maybe some provincial levels as well and there may be some policy directions,” says Duvenhage.

Opposition parties, on the other hand, say they have not yet discussed the possibility of coalitions. This is what the EFF’s North West spokesperson, Fanon Moema had to say.

“In the EFF, coalition negotiations are led and directed by the national leadership. So as things stand, we are not in talks with anyone. We are still waiting for direction and guidance from the upper structures of the EFF.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says there are currently no coalition talks. But according to their provincial communication manager, Chris Steyl, they would consider joining forces with other parties.

“The DA in North West will be working very very hard towards 2024 to convince as may voters as possible to put their trust in the DA so that we can achieve our goal of ushering in a new era in South African politics at national level with a DA led coalition government following the elections in 2024. Currently in Ditsobotla, there is no formal negotiations with other political parties,” Steyl explains.

The Freedom Front Plus national head of elections, Wouter Wessels says they are also not forming any coalitions for now.

“We will not at this stage form a coalition with any party. But we will vote against the ANC as the ANC has proven that they cannot govern Ditsobotla and they cannot act in the best interest of the residents.”

Efforts to reach the ANC were unsuccessful. Residents are however not convinced that a coalition council would produce positive results as far as service delivery is concerned.

“These parties won’t be together and won’t work together because other people will judge other parties by its work. There will not be any changes,” a resident says.

“Small parties are now growing very fast. ANC is going down each and every day. It seems like South Africa is going to be up,” another resident explains.

“I don’t think the changes will be there. As I see politics, all the political parties are the same,” a resident reiterates.

Of the 39 municipal council seats, the ANC secured 16, the EFF 10, the DA 6, and other smaller parties split the remaining seats.