EFF strikes a deal with the DA: Here is how Johannesburg will look

The DA's mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, once made damning statements against the poor, stirring controversy. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The DA's mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, once made damning statements against the poor, stirring controversy. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

It’s all but set in stone that, with the vote that the EFF have pledged to their party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to take over most of the hung metros, but what will happen in the city of Johannesburg and does the EFF condition for the DA have something to do with Herman Mashaba?

On Wednesday, the EFF held a press briefing near an informal settlement called Setswetla in Alexandra. In the breezy afternoon, the EFF announced that it had formed no coalitions with any party, but that it would be backing the DA in the hung metros. Here’s how three of the hung metros are looking for their mayors with the EFF’s support of the DA:

Ekurhuleni: Ghaleb Cachalia

Tshwane: Solly Msimanga

Nelson Mandela Bay: Athol Trollip

But Johannesburg is the catch.

On Wednesday, Malema said they would vote for the DA in Johannesburg but on one condition, which he said was “between the EFF and the DA”. He did not expand on what that condition may be.

The leader expressed support for Solly Msimanga, saying he is “genuine” and the EFF could speak with him. When asked what he thought of Herman Mashaba, the DA’s mayoral candidate for the city of Johannesburg, the EFF leader refused to answer.

Speculation had earlier surfaced that the “small matter” Malema said was conditional to the EFF voting for the DA in Johannesburg was that Mashaba must not be the DA’s mayor for the city of Johannesburg.

The EFF has taken care to position itself as pro-black and pro-poor. In his presser, Malema spoke about how the party planned to lobby a policy which would allow indigents to be relieved from debt. He also said that people in suburbs can’t complain due to the inequality in what people can afford.

In contrast, Mashaba has made damning statements against the poor in South Africa that have stirred controversy and backlash. Mashaba once quipped: “It’s interesting that you can expect poor people to be leaders. That is looking for trouble in any given situation”. The DA leader was responding to criticism after he made a statement linking poor people to corruption.

Mashaba also once commented that BEE policies were unfavourable because they make businesses take into account “the race and social background of potential applicants instead of considering an applicant’s skill set and qualifications”. He concluded that “the notion of empowering the previously disadvantaged is a noble ideal, but racist”.

The DA’s James Selfe earlier told Business Day that the EFF and the DA couldn’t form an agreement because of “ideological differences”. Mashaba may personify in some part those differences in ideology.

In the DA’s update on coalition talks this afternoon, the party’s leader, Mmusi Maimane, confirmed Mashaba could be the condition the EFF spoke on.

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

While the EFF has declared it will vote for the DA (with the exception of in Johannesburg for now) Malema said it will not vote for the ANC. The EFF’s commander in chief says that both the ANC and the DA support white capital, but the DA is the lesser of two evils because it does not share the ANC’s history of corruption.

There has been no communication as yet on when the ANC will report back on its plans for municipal government. 

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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