Talks are continuing between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) over four key municipalities as Tuesday’s deadline by which all municipal councils must sit looms.

This is after a cooperation pact reached by both parties where they agreed to support one another in the hung councils.

Both parties say they are still thrashing out the specific details of the coalition agreement in municipalities classified as economic hubs, namely eThekwini, Msunduzi, uMhlathuze and Newcastle.

As Tuesday’s deadline approaches for all councils to have been inaugurated, there’s no decision yet between the two parties in four highly-contested councils in the province.

eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, Msunduzi, the province’s capital city, uMhlathuze on the North Coast and Newcastle in the northern part of the province were amongst the 21 hung councils.

IFP provides update on coalition talks:

The four contribute more than 60% to the province’s Gross Domestic Product. The cooperation agreement at this point does not include the district municipalities and economic hubs.

“While talks are still going on over the four economic hubs of KwaZulu-Natal where the dynamics are more complex, the IFP believes that the principle we are committed to can be expanded and replicated as a model in other parts of the country, allowing the biggest party to take control,” says Velenkosini Hlabisa, IFP president.

Despite the ANC having obtained more seats in each of the economic hubs, the ruling party says the IFP wants it to relinquish its control of uMhlathuze as one of the conditions of the deal.

“As part of the concession, they were seeking that they be given one of the economic hubs, in particular uMhlathuze. Which we could not agree on as we are saying that if our discussions are based on the principle that where you are a majority party you must be allowed to govern. So that was the issue if you are making any concession, they might be there only the chairperson of the portfolio committees,” says Nhlakanipho Ntombela, ANC KZN Spokesperson.

Political Analyst Bheki Mngomezulu believes that the idea of sharing economic hubs would be fair for both parties and will improve service delivery.

“In terms of the collegiality that the ANC and the IFP negotiated, I think what would be fair will be to divide this four into two, let one party have two and then the other one of the other two that will assist also in terms of testing each other’s power because each political party will be leading to a hub and then the other one will be leading the other two hubs. They are going to use that to position themselves for the 2024 election. And in fact, people are going to benefit a lot if that were to happen, will be the electorate.”

The IFP wants the ANC to reserve its decision to rename Prince Mangosuthu Highway in Umlazi as Griffiths Mxenge Highway.

It’s understood the party also wants the ANC to scrap the name of its region in northern KwaZulu-Natal – Mzala Nxumalo – as it believes Nxumalo’s book ‘The Chief With A Double Agenda’ was defamatory.

Discussion on coalition talks and races for municipal councils: TK Pooe &Asanda Ngoasheng: