Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane is reportedly attempting to persuade former Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi to bring the recently-formed United Front into a coalition with the official opposition.
The two held a meeting in Johannesburg on February 1, according to an article in the Sunday Times.
It is apparent that the DA aims to use the coalition to seize control of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro should the ANC fail to gain an outright majority during the August 3 local government elections.
The DA denied that talks have reached a point where future plans are being discussed, though Vavi confirmed that he has been approached on the possibility of forming a coalition. DA insiders also reportedly revealed that Vavi could be offered the deputy mayor post.
“I confirm that Maimane approached me about the possibility of a coalition in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro. This was after an Ipsos survey indicated no party will win the metro and form a government on its own,” said Vavi.
The United Front, however, released a statement on Sunday evening dismissing any suggestions of a coalition between itself and the DA. It said that if a meeting between Vavi and Maimane had occurred, it was not “on behalf of or with any mandate of the United Front”.
“In light of media reports on discussions about possible electoral pacts between the United Front and the Democratic Alliance (DA), we wish to place on record that we have not met with the DA and have no intention of meeting with the party to discuss the upcoming local government elections,” the statement read.
“We are certain that Vavi, who we respect and who we work with, never claimed to speak on behalf of the United Front as he is not active in the elected structures of the United Front.”
The statement went on to elaborate that due to ideological differences, the United Front has little interest in forming a coalition with the DA – in the Eastern Cape metro or elsewhere.
“Indeed, neoliberalism in the form of austerity, monetarism, inflation-targeting, privatisation and public private partnerships are a direct cause of the growing misery of millions of our people. The continued outsourcing of state functions, especially at local government level, through the granting of tenders, is the cause of the failure of local government to provide decent services to our people.
“The thousands of service delivery protests represent a rejection of this system and the United Front was formed to take these struggles forward. The DA is a party that argues for neoliberalism and we see no possibility of an alliance with the DA electorally in any part of the country.”