Mashaba will not strong-arm parties to become Johannesburg mayor

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba does not intend to strong-arm any political parties towards a bid to become Johannesburg mayor once again, during coalition negotiations that now look certain to commence in the metro after Monday’s local government elections.

Mashaba instead intends to go into such talks in good faith, he said on Tuesday as results trickling in pointed to his party taking a chunk of votes away from the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ANC. 

By 4.40pm, projections from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) suggested that ActionSA, contesting in its first ever election, would take 11.8% of the votes in Johannesburg, with the ANC predicted to take 35% and the DA  29.8%.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian at the national results centre, Mashaba said ActionSA wanted an arrangement that benefited the people of Johannesburg.

“One thing in my business career even when I was a trader selling products from the boot of my car, when you negotiate, negotiate in good faith. For me to be honest with you, negotiations are always successful when it’s a win win. I’m not going to impose my will when I negotiate. I don’t negotiate where I’m the only person who benefits because a sustainable business relationship is where both parties benefit,” he said. 

Mashaba has in the past indicated that he would not enter into any coalition arrangement with the ANC. In fact one of his party’s objectives has been to unseat the ANC and bring its voter share to below 50%. 

Mashaba, who was the DA mayor of Johannesburg before his shock exit following the election of Helen Zille as federal council chair, is likely to make a deal with his former party.

The DA has already made it clear that it would work with Mashaba under certain conditions, including him disassociating with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The DA has signalled it will not, under any circumstances, cooperate with the EFF post-elections over ideological differences.

In a recent statement, the DA warned voters that voting for ActionSA could well be opening the backdoor for the EFF in municipalities and metros across the country.

“Herman Mashaba recently said that he would not go into coalitions without first consulting the voters. However, the DA can today tell voters that in 2017 Mashaba, as a DA member, used his position as Johannesburg mayor to lobby for the EFF to be given the mayorship of Metsimaholo. He proposed giving away a municipality to the red berets to manage in exchange for support somewhere else. It must be noted here that the DA did not bend to his will, and eventually he left,” it said. 

Mashaba said that the results were pleasing for ActionSA even though the party would not get a clear majority. 

“We were strategic, we decided from day one to contest winnable municipalities. We restricted ourselves to contest six municipalities maximum,” he said. 

Gauteng province looks set for a coalition government after 2024 national and provincial elections as indicated by this year’s municipal elections where the ANC is projected to score a measly 37.4% of the votes, down from the 46.1% the ruling party received five years ago. 

In the 2019 provincial elections, the ANC squeaked through to a majority victory in Gauteng with 50.2%, but the haemorrhaging of votes at this year’s local elections shows the governing party will find it hard to rule without a coalition in 2024.

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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