OF THE hung municipalities around the country, four coalition agreements have been signed and sealed in the Western Cape, with the balance expected to be finalised later this week.
In the local government election no single party claimed an outright majority in 27 councils including four metros: Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Nelson Mandela Bay.
Coalition talks have been ongoing since the announcement of the results. The 14-day period within which councils have to be constituted will end on Saturday.
Last week, DA Western Cape leader Patricia de Lille announced that the party had reached agreements in Prince Albert, Laingsburg, Beaufort West and the Central Karoo District Municipality. The party entered into coalition agreements with the Karoo Gemeenskap Inisiatief.
The ANC, the DA and the EFF are continuing to hold last-minute meetings to form governments.
The ANC and the EFF met on Monday after the governing party held a four-day national executive committee meeting in which it assumed collective responsibility for its drastic electoral decline, absolving President Jacob Zuma after he was at the centre of a string of scandals ahead of the election.
The EFF is understood to have made Zuma’s resignation one of its preconditions to forming any coalition with the ANC, and this demand is also contained in a guide to coalitions put together by the smaller parties.
The ANC’s national leadership took over negotiations after the national executive committee meeting, with secretary-general Gwede Mantashe saying that smaller parties were seeking to extract a “pound of flesh”, and that the ANC was ready to sit in the opposition benches if talks failed.
If coalition talks fail, minority governments could be formed. According to Prof Nico Steytler, South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government at the Dullah Omar Institute, minority governments can be formed in the absence of coalition agreements, but there would have to be horse trading over every single decision taken by those councils.
It would make for unstable governance in these municipalities. Such governments could be in place for the entire five-year term, provided the councils were able to function and take decisions.
If by the weekend no coalition agreements had been struck and there was no consensus over the selection of a speaker — which was the first decision a new council had to take — the municipal manager, who convenes the sitting, could then postpone it to a later date, Steytler said.
If critical decisions such as passing of the budget could not be taken, the door could open for the provincial government to appoint — under “exceptional circumstances” outlined in the Constitution — an administrator, who would pass an interim budget and rerun elections in three months’ time.
However, if a council was constituted and could not take decisions, it could decide to dissolve itself — but only after two years, Steytler said.
READ THIS: Electoral system under attack
The African Independent Congress (AIC) has confirmed that it has agreed in principle to co-operate with the ANC in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Rustenburg.
The Pan Africanist Congress was approached by the ANC.
In Johannesburg, the ANC, with 121 seats, can retain control of the metro if it partners with the EFF (30 seats). The DA has 104 seats. This is the only option for the party in the city as it needs another 15 seats. The IFP has five seats in Johannesburg and the AIC four. The Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), AlJama, United Democratic Movement (UDM), Congress of the People (Cope) and Patriotic Alliance (PA) have one seat each.
In Tshwane, where the DA has the most seats, the only option for the ANC is to partner with the EFF. The DA has 93 seats, the ANC 89 and the EFF 25. The Freedom Front Plus has four seats and the ACDP, Cope and the PAC each have one.
In Nelson Mandela Bay, where the DA has 57 seats, the ANC (50 seats) will have to enter into a coalition with the EFF, which has six seats and obtain four more seats from smaller parties. The UDM has two seats, while the AIC, United Front, Cope, ACDP and PA each have one seat.