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An EFF and DA coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay?

JUNE 12, 2015
An EFF and DA coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay?

Will we see a Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) pact in the Nelson Mandela Bay in the upcoming 2016 Local Government Elections? EFF Commander in Chief, Julius Malema, has announced that while his party is not interested in coalitions, it was open to what he termed "contractual relationships".

"Whoever wants the votes of the EFF will have to come and bring us a yearly contract which stipulates what people are going to benefit that year [and] by when, and then if those are not met the relationship is automatically off," Malema said.

He was speaking at the Daily Maverick Gathering in Midrand, Johannesburg on Thursday.

Malema said if the EFF went into a contractual relationship with another party and it did not deliver within a year, it would then "end the relationship".

The biggest battles in the 2016 Local Government Elections are expected in the country’s metros, including in the Nelson Mandela Bay where the African National Congress (ANC) has been losing ground since 2011.

While the DA - the official opposition in the Bay, has made some gains over the same period, it is nowhere near the position of an outright win against the ANC – which probably makes the idea of collaboration with other parties attractive.

Still, the DA and EFF are understandably on opposite ends of the political spectrum. The idea of some kind of partnership then seems far-fetched.

But then again in politics, one can never say never. Judging by what has been happening in Parliament in recent times, the two parties seem to have an unwritten cooperation agreement and have often indirectly come to the defense of the other.

Since its formation, the EFF is yet to make its presence felt in the Bay where it has no Ward Councillors.

Malema said the EFF is visiting communities and if the party in charge of that community was not delivering, then the EFF would rather not engage in any form of relationship with them.

"Our people are tired of being fed theory which lacks practice."

"They've had to listen to theory for 21 years - they all know how slogans sound like. All they want now is action."

Coalition with ANC still on the table

Still, the EFF could join hands with the ANC, his former political home.

Malema, speaking during a campaign at the Qunu informal settlement in Port Elizabeth in April, announced; "We are going to have a working partnership. So, we are prepared to do that with the Democratic Alliance, we are prepared to do that with the African National Congress, we are prepared to do that with the United Front.”

But speaking in Wells Estate the previous day, Malema said that the ANC had turned the municipality into South Africa’s most corrupt ever, and that their winning tally of 50% during the last elections, proves that “they are on their way out”.

“You must continue to fight. When we are fighting in Parliament, you must continue to fight on the streets so that we have evidence in Parliament to prove that our people are suffering. You must fight till we take this municipality,” Malema said to much applause.

He said the ANC had failed to deliver on its promises of providing equality to all over the past 21 years as the majority of people continuing to struggle are black.

“Not far from you, there are white people living so nice. They have roads, water, electricity and even street lights. But here, because you are black, there is nothing. The only crime you have committed is being black.

“Yesterday they were saying we needed to celebrate Freedom Day. But how can we celebrate without people even having a toilet or house? You have been asking for jobs but they jump you because you are not ANC. We do not want those things. We want you to get a job, not because you are EFF, but because you are South African and qualify for it,” he said.

“There is lots of development and investment in Port Elizabeth but those resources and opportunities, including business, are given to people who are ANC connected. If you don’t have a connection, you don’t even get a simple cleaning tender. We are going to expose this”.

As far as the message goes, it is not clear yet who the EFF will work with in the upcoming elections in the Nelson Mandela Bay – but they are prepared to work with anyone if they can come to some kind of agreement.

What is also apparent is that the EFF don’t have the numbers yet to win the Metro alone but can at this point be a boost to any party that they will engage with.