Coalition government is rough. However, it is expected that the multi-party coalition government in the Tshwane Metro Council (DA, ActionSA, FF Plus, ACDP, IVP and COPE) will last until at least 2026.
Mayor Cilliers Brink said on Wednesday that each of the parties in the coalition government is still committed to the coalition amid the metro’s many challenges. “At this stage, there is no question of anyone withdrawing.”
Brink discussed the state of affairs in the capital this morning during a discussion of the Solidarity Movement.
“There is a willingness and goodwill (among the parties) to make the best of the matter,” assured the mayor.
However, Grandi Theunissen, FF Plus councilor and mayoral committee member for community safety, conceded that coalition government is not easy.
“Someone has said that being in a coalition is a bit like being in an unhappy marriage, but you stay for the sake of the children,” joked Theunissen.
However, he says the current coalition – specifically those who serve on the mayor’s committee – “work well together”.
“Everyone is committed. Some more than others. But there really is change. The attitude is: We want to serve. This is our starting point: To serve our community.”
However, neither Brink nor Theunissen have turned a blind eye to the many challenges that the Tshwane coalition government must overcome.
“I would very much like to tell you that the streets are clean, the workforce productive, the infrastructure well maintained, the metro police firm but friendly and helpful, the balance sheet healthy and the future fairly certain.
“But I’m not the mayor of Cape Town after all,” Brink joked.
“Here in Pretoria, things are a little more difficult.”
Brink does not say this because there is no political will to bring about change in the capital.
“In many cases it is precisely because there are many people who care and work hard to change the system that things temporarily get worse before they get better. There is a desperate effort to fix the City of Tshwane.
“We are on a rescue mission.”
The existing coalition currently has a 50% plus one majority in the city council after the ANC slipped further in the Tshwane metro in the local government elections of 2021.
Brink explains that most key decisions at local government level are not taken by the mayor, but by the city council. This includes decisions on the appointment, suspension, dismissal and dismissal of the municipal manager and senior managers, as well as the approval of the budget, development plan, municipal by-laws and the approval of long-term loans.
However, Brink is well aware that the current coalition has a “paper thin” majority of two.
“But it is a very important majority of two because that majority is one of the core ingredients of a successful coalition in a city council.”
Brink says the multi-party coalition government in Tshwane “broadly” shares the same outlook regarding racism, the rule of law, a capable state and a free market economy.
The coalition government also has broadly the same plan of action to fix the City of Tshwane.
“Our ability to withstand the pressure of pressure groups that have influence in the ANC alliance is going to be a big test to determine whether our coalition will succeed,” says Brink.
Peppered with questions
This morning, Brink not only had to answer questions about the current state of the Tshwane coalition government and the Samwu strike, but also stood up to answer ordinary Pretorianians’ service delivery questions. The mayor was peppered with questions about everything from broken traffic lights to open drug abuse on the city’s streets.
Brink and Theunissen gave feedback on each of the questions and in some cases undertook to follow up on the issues.