/ 16 May 2017

Maimane: ‘Nothing off the table’ in coalition talks for 2019

DA leader Mmusi Maimane
DA leader Mmusi Maimane

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said he has started coalition talks ahead of the 2019 general election.

During his speech on Tuesday at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, on the realignment of politics, Maimane said he was in talks with other opposition parties to deepen co-operation. “I will keep these channels of communication open until we go to the polls in 2019.”

If the chances of winning the 2019 election can be maximised with a pre-election coalition agreement, “then this is something that we need to consider”, he said, adding “Nothing is off the table; we are in the 2019 election to win it.” 

Discussions with other political parties will focus on the removal of the ANC, he said.

Calls from some quarters for a new Convention of a Democratic South Africa [Codesa], as well as a claim that the root of the problem was the country’s Constitution, was not an option for the DA or its view.

“We don’t agree with this approach,” Maimane said. “We have one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. On paper, at least, it protects people’s freedom and advances it.”

He said a coalition government must agree that a growing and inclusive economy is non-negotiable. “The fact is that too much wealth in our country is concentrated in too few hands … We have to make South Africa attractive to investors and we have to help businesses create jobs.”

The future depends on the DA’s ability to realign its politics around a set of values instead of race.”We need to start believing that change is possible, and that this change can only be initiated from outside the ANC, not from inside it.

“But our new path will require courage from all of us, because it will be unfamiliar. It will look like nothing we have ever known.”

This, he added, will be a new beginning and a fresh start.

ANC leaders
He referenced examples of Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, which toppled ruling presidents by forming coalitions.

“This is a lesson we must learn from other countries on the African continent: coalitions and political realignments have played a vital role in preserving democracy on our continent. And this is where our future lies too.”

He said while it was early days, the existing coalitions and co-operation agreements assembled in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay were working.

“Just six months into the job, these DA-led coalition governments have already made a huge impact on the lives of poor South Africans in these metros.”

This showed that DA-led coalitions can work in national government too, he said.

Maimane extended a hand of friendship to ANC leaders who were speaking against the state of their party, adding that the DA was open to working with them in the future, in a new and realigned political landscape. – News24