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Coalition talks collapse after DA rejects Kunene’s bid for mayorship, ActionSA blames DA for deadlock

Sisanda Mbolekwa Politics reporter
DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga says the party's negotiation strategy is to sign agreements before going into government. File photo.
DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga says the party's negotiation strategy is to sign agreements before going into government. File photo.
Image: MDUDUZI NDZINGI

Coalition talks between the DA and Patriotic Alliance (PA) have collapsed after the DA refused to back Kenny Kunene's bid for the mayorship of Johannesburg.

According to the DA, the PA demanded Kunene, their deputy president, lead the city alongside two mayoral committee portfolios.

DA provincial leader Solly Msimanga said the party rejected the demands and reaffirmed its position that to enter coalition negotiations, the PA would have to divorce itself from the ambit of the ANC in nine municipalities where they are working together.

“The DA proposed reverting to the last negotiated agreement in Johannesburg as the only existing agreement on which an alternative to the ANC/EFF can be based,” said Msimanga.

He said removing one government without having any idea how they will constitute a viable alternative would inevitably lead to more chaos.

“We would then find ourselves negotiating afterwards with a gun to our heads in what would amount to little more than extortion in the horse-trading for positions.”

Msimanga said the DA has a clear policy to negotiate and sign coalition agreements before it moves into government.

“That is why we are prepared to revive the coalition agreement on which our previous coalition government was based before we were toppled from power, when the PA voted with the ANC,” he said.

However, ActionSA believes the DA is to blame for the collapse of talks, saying the party used the opportunity to push for its own candidate, Mpho Phalatse, but announced conditions it required from the PA before the PA supporting a DA candidate.

ActionSA chairperson Michael Beaumont said it has never been the case that a party imposes conditions on another party’s support, and it seemed the conditions were imposed with the intention of creating a deadlock in talks.

“When the PA refused to accept the conditions, it became apparent there was no road to a majority of support for Phalatse’s candidature, even with the support of ActionSA, IFP, VF Plus, ACDP and UIM. At this point all former coalition partners confirmed their willingness to support ActionSA’s candidate, Funzi Ngobeni,” said Beaumont.

The ActionSA chair said the PA confirmed it would be open to supporting Ngobeni, and that the DA possessed the required seats to give his candidature the majority to keep the ANC and EFF out of Joburg.

However, he said the DA refused.

Beaumont said the DA deemed the residents of Joburg “expendable” for their regional Western Cape politics.

“The issue of the PA and how they coalesce is predominantly in the Western Cape and has absolutely no bearing on the residents of Joburg,” he said.

“The DA’s imposition of conditions upon the PA is all about how they position the PA in the Western Cape and ignores the fact that the PA were at the table in Joburg (for a second time in four months) to restore the coalition in Joburg.”

The City of Johannesburg council is expected to hold a meeting on Friday to elect a new person for the top job.

TimesLIVE

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