ANC ramps up coalition activity

The African National Congress (ANC) has signed a coalition agreement with the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa) and an independent councillor to secure municipal government in Oudtshoorn, Cape Agulhas and Kannaland, it said on Wednesday.

“The African National Congress in the Western Cape has signed an agreement to cooperate in some hung councils in the province,” the party’s Western Cape provincial treasurer, Fezile Calana, said in Cape Town.

“This is the first pact to end the impasse in a number of our municipalities where no clear majority emerged during the recent election,” he said.

Political parties have been locked in meetings across the country since Monday to mull coalition pacts in municipalities where power hangs in the balance after last week’s local government elections.

The ANC sustained severe losses in the Western Cape, ceding control even in strongholds like Breede River and Saldanha Bay.

ANC Western Cape secretary Songeza Mjongile said on Monday that his party was trying to form coalitions in 13 of the 30 municipalities in the province where the Democratic Alliance (DA) did not win more than 50% of seats.

Out of 30 municipalities in the Western Cape, the ANC only managed an outright win in Beaufort West.

The Congress of the People took 21 of the 882 seats in the province.

Calana said the agreement signed on Wednesday was “simple and straightforward”.

“It talks about governance of municipalities ... and allocation of seats between two parties. The duration of the agreement is up to the next election.”

He said the ANC had not offered Icosa or independent candidate Dirk Jantjies any “package” other than that of serving the poor.

He said the agreement was not about an exchange of money.

Icosa president Jeffrey Donson said the party held discussions with the ANC and the DA and decided to work with the ANC.

Jantjies said the decision was “easy” for him as he came from the ANC and had no problems working with the party again.

Strong bulwark
Calana said Jantjies would become the deputy mayor of Cape Agulhas.

Icosa would be “in charge” of Kannaland.

The mayoral post would go to an Icosa candidate, while the posts of speaker and deputy mayor would be held by ANC members.

Donson could not say whether he would take up the position of mayor.

He said the party would discuss it and decide on an appropriate person for the job.

Calana said talks with opposition parties regarding other municipalities in the province were gaining momentum.

“We are pulling together with parties whose objective it is to build a strong bulwark against the DA’s power-hungry approach of decimating smaller minority parties by latching on and sucking it out.”

Calana said there had been discussions with Cope, but the ANC was not quite sure which faction of the party would give it instructions.

“It further makes things difficult for us as the ANC.”

He said the ANC had also spoken to the Pan Africanist Congress about Cedarburg and that an announcement about those talks would be made soon.

Regarding the Bitou municipality, he said talks were ongoing.

“It is Cope that should be giving a direction whether they want to work with the people or with the DA.”—Sapa

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