During the last week, negotiations to restore the majority of the governing multi-party coalition in Johannesburg reached a point at which a deal was accepted by the Patriotic Alliance. This deal would have restored the majority of the coalition in Johannesburg that would have kept the ANC out in South Africa’s economic capital and, most likely, the EFF out in Ekurhuleni.
The deal, arising from months of negotiations, was agreed by the negotiating teams of all parties (including the DA) and involved ActionSA sacrificing 2 positions in the Mayoral Committee to accommodate the PA and ensure the sustainability of the coalition government. Despite this, the DA’s Federal Executive rejected the deal.
The DA’s stated reasons for rejecting the deal are a false pretence to mask their intention to allow the coalition government to collapse in Johannesburg. Citing concerns about the PA intentions in the Economic Development portfolio is irrational. If evidence exists that a party plans to commit corruption within the coalition, they should not be brought in any position. Despite this, the DA accepts the PA in the position of Roads and Transport which houses a much larger budget and procurement capacity.
On 20 January 2023 leaders of coalition partners implored the DA to reconsider their position citing a certain collapse of talks and the government should the DA persist, however the DA refused to amend their position. The DA’s position was put to the PA who rejected the proposal and stated that they would not work with this multi-party coalition arrangement in Johannesburg involving the DA. Yesterday, 24 January, a meeting of the national coalition structure wrote to DA Leader John Steenhuisen and urged the DA Fedex to reconsider its position in rejecting a deal that had been accepted by the PA and agreed by all negotiating teams. Despite the urgency of an impending motion of no confidence on Thursday, the DA has not favoured its partners with a response.
The consequence of the DA’s actions is that the governing coalition in Johannesburg will face a motion of no confidence to remove DA Mayor Mpho Phalatse this Thursday 26 January 2023. As a direct result of the DA’s actions this motion will most likely succeed and see the return of the ANC in Johannesburg and pave the way for an EFF Mayoralty in Ekurhuleni.
The actions of the DA are a deliberate and inexcusable betrayal of the public commitment made by parties in the coalition to keep the ANC out of government and to provide an alternative to all South Africans. It has produced a bizarre dynamic where coalition partners have worked tirelessly to keep Mayor Phalatse in office while the DA is obstructionist to this agenda.
ActionSA denounces this short-sightedness by the DA and to work to provide a coalition alternative to the residents of Johannesburg. The DA, by its actions, has all but ensured the collapse of a once viable coalition in Johannesburg and have, from our perspectives, rendered themselves unfit to lead. This now requires a group of parties to take action to live up to our commitment to the residents of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and South Africa more broadly.
ActionSA will remain consistent and vote against the motion of no confidence in Mayor Phalatse on Thursday to ensure we remain true to our commitment to the coalition even if the DA has reneged on its commitment. Alongside other coalition partners, ActionSA supports a proposal made to accommodate the PA which that was agreed to by all parties (including the PA and the DA) and continue to push the DA to honour this agreement.
However, in light of the events of the past week, ActionSA must now consider the possibility that the DA’s actions may lead to the collapse of the current multi-party government in Johannesburg. ActionSA is now openly part of a group of parties within the coalition that is working to see if an alternate coalition can be convened that honours the commitment to keep the ANC out of government should the DA elect not to do so. The DA will need to decide whether to support such an arrangement or whether to support the return of the ANC.
Whatever happens on Thursday in Johannesburg the DA will need to account to the South African people ahead of the 2024 national and provincial elections where voters seek a stable and effective coalition alternative to both failed ANC governance.
Should the DA act to facilitate the return of ANC governance in Johannesburg and the advent of an EFF government in Ekurhuleni, South Africans will at least know that ActionSA was amongst a group of parties who stood together to stop this from happening.