Johannesburg – DA leader John Steenhuisen has vowed that his party would not support ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba to be elected Mayor of Joburg on Monday.
Addressing the media and supporters on Saturday, Steenhuisen said Mashaba’s election as mayor and for the opposition parties to garner more than 50% of the vote to achieve a majority was highly dependent on the support of the EFF.
The latest utterances of Steenhuisen appears likely to bring division in a coalition agreement reached by opposition parties to support the DA’s Randall Williams mayoral candidacy on Tuesday during the inaugural sitting of the City of Tshwane.
Commenting on Joburg, Steenhuisen said his party would not vote alongside the EFF, despite the numbers they would bring to allow opposition parties to keep the ANC out of power in Joburg, the financial capital of the country.
“In other words, even if we do put together a minority coalition government in Johannesburg, the EFF would have to vote with us in order to enable us to take decisions, pass budgets and bring a stable government. The coalition will, therefore, be subject to the whims and demands of the EFF.
“The EFF has already said they intend to stay outside the coalition, and merely give us their vote when we do things that they agree with.
“So inevitably, the EFF tail will wag the coalition dog in Johannesburg,” Steenhuisen said.
He said some people argued that it was worth taking this risk, saying that they would need a bold new move in politics to keep the ANC out.
“However, there is nothing new or bold about this proposal. We tried exactly this after the 2016 election. We took the risk of being in minority coalitions supported by the EFF -- which failed spectacularly.
“Back then, we put together opposition coalitions in Johannesburg and Tshwane, neither of which had enough council seats to get over 50% of the vote.
“The EFF did not join our coalitions but offered their support on a case-by-case basis. In both these cities, our minority coalitions had to rely on the EFF to get the majority we needed to govern.
“This resulted in chaotic, unstable governments in which smaller parties switched sides and power kept changing hands.
“In Johannesburg, in particular, Herman Mashaba (who was still a DA mayor) understood that in order to remain mayor, he had to dance to the EFF’s tune. Even Julius Malema acknowledged that Herman became the EFF’s mayor. That may have been a bonus for the EFF, but it was disastrous for everyone else,” Steenhuisen said.
He said the election result in 2021 was different from 2016 in only one significant respect.
“In Tshwane, for the first time, we are now able to put together an opposition coalition government that will have a clear majority of seats. We will not have to rely on the EFF to secure a majority and remain in office.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for Johannesburg,” Steenhuisen said.