/ 20 October 2021

Chapter 2.19: Coalitions and oppositions

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Chapter 2.19: This is the section of the South African constitution where you get the need-to-know about your political rights. It is also the title of this special five-part podcast. The Mail & Guardian’s political journalists and guests chew on the good, the bad, and the ugly since the local government elections in 2016 — what state the municipalities are in; the politics in local government over the past years; the political tensions in different provinces; and more. 

Welcome to Episode 4. M&G journalist Emsie Ferreira, accompanied by Lizeka Tandwa, chats with One South Africa movement leader and former leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane, the director of the democracy nonprofit The Third Republic Paul Berkowitz, and Narend Singh from the Inkatha Freedom Party about coalitions and the state of the opposition. 

What are coalitions and how do they work? What has South Africa’s experience of coalitions been like over the past years as the political climate continues to change? Find out what some of the issues might be in the management of coalitions and what leads to the failures, or the successes, of coalitions in South Africa. 

Communication is the oil that keeps most machines running at their full potential, and it is no different with coalitions. How does that work in a country that is home to a wide variety of political parties, and one where the relationships between the ruling party and the opposition are not the most “convenient”? 

Let us explore the likelihood that the results of the local government elections will lead to more coalitions at local government elections than the last polls in 2016, and whether, this time around, they can be more viable than the often failed working agreements recently described by political scientist Keith Sottschalk as “marriages of inconvenience”.

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