Coalitions will help our democracy mature

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Coalitions have been a longstanding feature of democracies in Europe. During my two postings as diplomat in Germany in the early to mid-1980s and again in the late 1980s to early 1990s, I gained first-hand experience about it and reported on that. It had its growing pains, but developed into a very necessary feature of democracy.

The Germans, especially the younger generation, shook off traditional political loyalties and started seeing the ballot paper more as a value-paper enabling them to negotiate politically. Once a party got too much power, they voted for smaller parties to prevent domination or a monopoly by one party.

SA became politically mature to an extent that we can now give the first baby steps in that direction. There will be growing pains, but if managed correctly, it could become a more permanent feature of our politics and the beginning of a more balanced and more mature political dispensation.

I have predicted that for a long time given my exposure to coalition politics in Europe. Directly after 1994 we needed a strong ANC for political stability. In essence, our first "coalition" was the Government of National Unity, a coalition of sorts between the ANC and the NP, that was unfortunately ended unilaterally by the NP; a historical mistake.

The biggest plus of coalition politics in SA is that it forces us to talk to each other across party lines and divisions of the past instead of pointing fingers and shouting at each other.

Dawie Jacobs, Sterrewag, Pretoria

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