DA says Mashaba will remain Johannesburg mayoral candidate as it forms coalitions

Democratic Alliance leader (DA) Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday announced that his party had entered into coalition agreements with four parties, but not the ANC or the EFF.

“We are glad to announce we have entered into arrangements to bring together a coalition with the Congress of the People (Cope), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM),” Maimane said.

Maimane assured supporters the DA “would never compromise on principle” and that the party would not work with the ANC because South Africans had voted for change.

“I made it clear we weren’t negotiating with the ANC,” the DA said.

The DA presser followed the EFF’s press briefing, which concluded less than an hour before Maimane was scheduled to make an announcement. Maimane welcomed Malema’s declaration that the EFF would vote for the DA in Nelson Mandela Bay, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane and clarified what would happen in Johannesburg. Maimane emphasised that the DA’s mayoral candidate for the city, Herman Mashaba, would hold his position.

“In Johannesburg there’s a joint question about what is the condition. The EFF asked us to consider what would happen to our mayoral candidate. We were clear. The people voted for Herman Mashaba and he stands as our mayoral candidate,” Maimane said.

“Our party stands on principles and we don’t issue mayorships,” he added, saying the party prioritises its relationship with voters.

He said that due to ideological differences, the two parties could not form a coalition. The EFF had asked that “Die Stem” be removed from the national anthem and that apartheid or colonial era street names be changed. Maimane said the DA is committed to taking every South African’s viewpoint into account. But both parties had negotiated in good spirits, Maimane said.

“I welcome the offer they made today to vote for us. They made that offer themselves; there was no agreement between us and the EFF,” Maimane said.

Maimane said the party would prioritise service delivery, providing integrated transport and broadband.

FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder sat alongside Maimane as the conference took off. He spoke on the importance of every party and said that they were witnessing a significant time in South African politics.

“We are entering a new political phase. It is the first time we are witnessing such broad cooperation between parties,” Mulder said.

The FF Plus has a long history of being linked to apartheid but Mulder, speaking on racial tension during election campaigns, said they are looking to avoid any polarisation.

“We dont want to fight. We don’t want racial polarisation like in the election campaign,” Mulder said.

The ACDP’s national chairperson, Jo-Ann Downs, said the agreement was a victory for South Africans, while Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said his party was happy to join other parties in this “historic time”.

Meanwhile, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa was stuck in traffic and running late for the briefing but a representative from his party spoke on his behalf. Holomisa had earlier released a list of conditions on which the UDM would enter into coalitions and these included resolving the question of land and the nationalisation of entities.

“We believe in good governance, that’s why we joined these parties. Voters are tired of bad governance,” UDM representatives said.

Maimane said their focus now is on the 27 hung municipalities, how governments will be formed and how the DA will govern. Solly Msimanga remains the DA’s mayoral candidate for Tshwane, Ghaleb Cachalia is the candidate in Ekurhuleni, Herman Mashaba in Johannesburg and Athol Trollip in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The deadline for first council meetings is Friday.

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Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

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