/ 17 April 2024

ActionSA’s Trollip says EFF wants Shivambu as finance minister so they can ‘steal’

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Athol Trollip at the National Election Debate hosted by the Mail & Guardian and University of Forte Hare. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy

ActionSA Eastern Cape chairperson Athol Trollip has said the only reason the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) would consider going into coalition with the ANC and demanding Floyd Shivambu be made finance minister was because they wanted to steal from the country’s coffers. 

Trollip made the remarks while responding to a question about coalitions during the national election debate hosted by the Mail & Guardian and the University of Fort Hare on Wednesday night.

Senior representatives from the ANC, EFF, ActionSA, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Democratic Alliance (DA) took part in the debate.

EFF president Julius Malema earlier this month told JJ Tabane on the Frank Dialogue show that the party would consider going into coalition with the ANC if EFF deputy president Shivambu was given the position of finance minister.

“I am prepared to give the EFF vote to the ANC nationally if it doesn’t get 50%. I don’t need the glory of being a deputy president or president. I will make one demand: make Floyd Shivambu minister of finance. That’s all,” Malema said.

At the debate on Wednesday, Trollip questioned why the EFF wanted control of the finance ministry.  

“There are other political parties which have said like the EFF that if they don’t get a majority they will give their vote to the ANC on condition they make this man [Floyd Shivambu] a minister of treasury. Why do they want the ministry of finance? They want to steal. 

“There is another political party which is a member of our multi-party coalition which says they will consider a coalition with the worst [available] option. We are not going in and out of coalitions, we are with the MPC and we are not going into coalition with the ANC or EFF,” he said.

Trollip said some political parties had made coalitions into a transactional deal for “politics of the stomach”. Some parties liked chaos because it allowed them to be corrupt, he said.  

He said the days of one-party dominance and hegemony in South Africa were over and the ANC needed to get used to it. Coalitions would be around for a long time. 

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Floyd Shivambu and Athol Trollip at the National Election Debate, hosted by the Mail & Guardian and University of Forte Hare. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy.

He admitted that the track record of South African coalitions had not been good, but was improving. “You can only get experience by doing things. The one thing about experience is you learn about who you can trust and who you can’t trust.”

IFP deputy president Mzamo Buthelezi said his party had been involved in coalitions for a long time, and there was stability in every municipality where the IFP was co-governing. Those coalitions would not survive without the IFP, he said. 

“Even when we were in charge in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, we invited other parties, even the ANC, to come and govern with us. So we are not newcomers in this game.”

Buthelezi said some parties were in coalitions so that individuals could gain personally. 

He said there must be clear legislation so that political parties who want to embezzle money through coalitions would not be able to do so. 

“We need to eliminate such parties and make sure that when you form coalitions, you are forming with like-minded parties who are in this to deliver services and make sure we do not allow this thing of kingmaker. Some parties will come in the morning — having agreed we are going to co-govern — saying ‘this is what we demand, failing which we pull out’.”

ANC NEC member Parks Tau said the reality was that coalitions have not worked, have proven to be difficult to manage and that they had thrown people into the governance system which has collapsed municipalities.

He said coalitions have not worked because of opportunism. 

“You can go into Tshwane today and the reality of the people of the capital city is a very difficult reality and that reality is what the people feel daily.” 

DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube said it was rich coming from Tau that coalitions were not working because it was good when the ANC was “eating” but was no good now because they were no longer eating. 

Gwarube said coalitions were here to stay but what was needed was mature political leadership, and legislation that would ensure that coalitions were regularised. 

“The ANC is being relegated to an opposition day in and day out, coalitions are part and parcel of South Africa’s democracy. This is where we are now and voters are giving us this kind of mandate so we have got to ask ourselves how we are being politically mature as political parties and how we are putting the residents and citizens in the work that we do.”

Economic Freedom Fighters deputy president Floyd Shivambu said there was no instability in the municipalities in which the EFF was governing.

“We are responsible for key critical departments in Nelson Mandela [Bay metro] — electricity plus infrastructure. In Johannesburg, we are responsible for community health and social development and we are responsible for public safety.” 

“If you want to know, there is no unstable government in Johannesburg, go and skip a robot and you will see the police that are under the guidance of the EFF will take you to prison. In the city of Ekurhuleni, we have been leading a stable government.”