DA considers coalitions for 2016 local government elections

Helen Zille. (Paul Botes, M&G)

Helen Zille. (Paul Botes, M&G)

The Democratic Alliance would consider entering into coalitions in municipalities for the 2016 local government elections, party leader Helen Zille said at the DA Gauteng Congress in Boksburg, on the East Rand, on Saturday.

“In 2016 we will succeed, if not with outright victory, then as the senior partner in coalitions in municipalities across South Africa,” Zille said.

“And, within a decade, we will replicate this model of coalition government on national level, with the Democratic Alliance again the majority partner.”

The congress would elect its provincial leadership on Saturday.

Zille said that as South Africa’s democracy matured, traditional party loyalties tied to ethnic identity were becoming weaker.

“As the ANC loses support to the populist left, they will also lose the support of voters who choose values like the Rule of Law, a Market Economy and Constitutionalism. These people will find a political home in the DA in 2016.”

Cosatu is ‘disintegrating’
Zille said that the Economic Freedom Fighters, which came third in its debut election in May, was discovering that “starting a populist party is the easy bit”, but holding it together and remaining relevant “is another matter altogether”.

She also pointed to apparent tensions in the tripartite alliance, saying that Cosatu was “disintegrating”.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) was expelled from Cosatu at a central executive committee meeting held on November 7.

At its special congress last December, Numsa decided not to support the ANC in the May general elections, which went against Cosatu’s policy.

Zille said that Gauteng suffered from “economic and social paralysis” as a result of patronage and cadre deployment.

“When officials only look up to see where the power and privilege hand-outs come from, they no longer see – nor do they care – what happens to ordinary people on the ground.”

‘Success in 2016’
She thanked delegates for helping to secure almost 450 000 new voters for the DA since 2009.

“As was the case with the 2014 campaign, our success in 2016 will be down to you.”

DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane, who was the party’s candidate for Gauteng premier, also addressed the conference.

“Over the past two weeks, as we have seen chaos in Parliament, it has become clear to me that the ANC government does not have the interests of the people of South Africa at heart,” he said.

This indicated that the ruling party had given up on democracy, he said.

“It is time for the electorate to awaken to the fact that the burden of accountability rests on their shoulders.”

Contesting positions
MPL Refiloe Ntsekhe is contesting the position of DA provincial leader against John Moodey, who has held the post since 2012.

MPL and chairperson of the DA Gauteng North region, Solly Msimanga, is the only candidate standing for provincial chairperson.

Four people are standing for the position of deputy provincial chair. They are MPL Michele Clarke, Tshwane ward councillor Hannes Coetzee, Johannesburg ward councillor Vasco da Gama, and MPL Shelley Loe.
– Sapa

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