By Fanie Cronje
The conversation regarding coalitions actually received stimulation with firstly the prepared congress to formalize coalitions in legislation when it comes to the management and functioning of coalitions and then the DA’s initiative around the so-called “moonshot cooperation model”.
The initiative and significant work was actually done by dr. Corné Mulder begins regarding coalition agreements in the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metros, which initially led to coalition metro councils being placed in power in the metros. Binding of all the parties, however, led to shipwreck, there was significant mutual “mud-slinging” and the ANC and EFF succeeded in taking over the council of the most important metro, Johannesburg, with the support of the Patriotic Alliance.
There currently appear to be three main currents filled by three groupings in the conversation around coalition government.
The center-radical grouping
First, the centre-radical grouping of the ANC and the EFF. Although they are not formalizing it at the moment, it will certainly materialize if the ANC does not achieve an absolute majority nationally, but also in provinces such as Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The ANC, through the secretary general, Fikile Mbalula, believes that it is not necessary to enter into a coalition agreement with the EFF, because the ANC will win the election.
The possibility that the ANC will not achieve an absolute majority is not currently being considered. The ANC cannot actually do this either, because then they already admit that they will not achieve an absolute majority. However, there is already rapprochement at the provincial level. Especially in Gauteng where Prime Minister Panyaza Lesufi is keen to form ties of cooperation.
The ANC is also moving closer to the EFF in terms of statements on matters such as expropriation without compensation, the NGV system, international relations with China and Russia (within and outside the BRICS context) as well as the change of the Reserve Bank’s mandate.
Then also the president’s statements at the ANC youth league congress, that there must be a return to the revolutionary positions and actions of the sixties and eighties. Currently probably to try and hope to draw those fringe voters from the EFF to the ANC and hope that this is sufficient to obtain the majority support nationally. The fact that someone like Mbalula does not openly confront Lesufi is indicative of the ANC’s neutrality in the provinces.
The center-preserving grouping
This grouping is mainly represented by the “moonshot agreement”. The stated objective is to admit and bind more partners to the agreed cooperation agreement.
Just as the ANC also wants to maintain its dominant position at national level, the DA also wants to maintain its dominant position within the agreement. The biggest obstacle for the grouping lies precisely in the fact that the matter must be properly clarified and confirmed in writing.
This has already led to disagreement and repeated accusations surrounding the removal of the ANC-supported mayor in Johannesburg. The DA did not want to support the ActionSA motion and offered its own method as the way to get rid of the mayor. Central to these differences is the PA of Gayton Mckenzie. The PA brings a significant grouping of the “brown” vote and will have to be accommodated if the grouping would really become a serious threat.
Neither the DA nor the PA is currently in a give-and-take situation and the differences of opinion will be to the disadvantage of the grouping. There are still several parties that can be involved in the grouping, such as the Rise Mzanzi, One Movement and other parties. Many of the parties are relatively new and it is suspected that the existing parties such as the DA will not be too eager to tie those parties in prematurely and instead attempt to gain that support in order to confirm their own position of power within the grouping. .
But this, like the ANC strategy above, can also involve dangers.
The radical Africanist group
This grouping is currently supported by the Pan African Congress (PAC), African Transformation Movement (ATM), African People’s Convention (APC), and the Land Party. They have already indicated that there will also be a pre-election agreement like the “moonshot agreement”. There are of course also fringe parties such as the Carl Niehaus initiative (Areta) and the newly founded African Congress for Transformation by former ANC secretary general Ace Magashule.
The parties mainly advocate the so-called Radical Economic Transformation (RET) as a policy framework. This is a very small grouping and will only be able to become a 5% grouping if they can lose support from the EFF. However, the group lacks the dynamism and charisma of a Julius Malema. It’s just the old “black consciousness” group. If ex-president Jacob Zuma might lend support to the grouping, the 5% support is definitely a possibility. This may also have an impact on the outcome of the provincial election in KwaZulu-Natal.
Possible trends arising from the dynamic
The ANC as the core of the centre-radical group has the most to lose. The grouping, within the ANC, which is closer to the EFF and proposes cooperation, may just move to the EFF.
On the other hand, the grouping within the ANC could potentially move in terms of the media’s proposal from an ANC-DA coalition to the centre-conservative coalition. The yellow carrot here is of course the corporate business sector which considers such a coalition to be the most desirable. If it does succeed, there should still be relative financial benefits for the role players. However, it is doubtful whether the corporate business sector together with the DA influence would be able to exert any significant effect on harmful economic policy. (So far they have failed to achieve any significant change in economic policy.)
If the centre-conservative coalition succeeds in obtaining more than 40-45% support for the sake of argument and conquering some provinces such as Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal together with the Western Cape, this could well mean a preventive impact for harmful legislation. Maybe even the Northern Cape, but it will have to be with the help of the PA.
This can also serve as preparation for a 2029 election victory, especially if the same government success in aforementioned provisions as in the Western Cape can be achieved. This would possibly be a better outcome than a national victory, since the cadre deployment and network is so deeply established that it could seriously harm a “new” government and largely eliminate efficiency. Even in the provinces, it will be extremely difficult to eliminate the “mess” of cadre favoritism.
- Fanie Cronje is an independent content creator and has already produced and presented two series entitled “Growing Federalism” and “Landbou Allegaartjie” which are available on AfriForumTV. He also hosts programs on Ramkatradio.