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Gauteng Metros coalition breakthrough

After three weeks of discussions between the DA and several other political parties regarding a coalition government, an agreement has finally been reached for them to work together in four of the hung municipalities in Gauteng.

The conclusion of the coalition agreement was followed by the appointment of members of the mayoral committees (MMCs) in two of the municipalities of Ekurhuleni and Mogale City.

However, despite its weighty demands in Johannesburg and Tshwane, which caused the respective mayors to delay appointing their executives, ActionSA has agreed to get three portfolios in the City of Johannesburg: safety, environment and infrastructure services, and development planning.

A highly placed source said the DA would take five portfolios in Johannesburg and give the other five to its coalition partners.

He said: The African Christian Democratic Party agreed to take the community development portfolio, while the IFP will take human settlements.

The source added that the coalition negotiating team had initially hit a snag when they could not agree to the demands put forward by ActionSA, which included getting the finance and infrastructure portfolios in both Johannesburg and Tshwane.

In Tshwane, ActionSA’s Abel Tau allegedly wanted the infrastructure portfolio, but the DA refused, arguing that he was too junior for the position. City Press understands that ActionSA will only get two portfolios in Tshwane.

In the City of Johannesburg, the ActionSA positions will be given to party president Herman Mashaba, who is earmarked for infrastructure, while John Moodey and Funzi Ngobeni will take the other two positions.

Another source said the prolonged negotiations were delaying service delivery.

“The mayors had hit the ground running, but they couldn’t do much because they needed to delegate some responsibilities. In Johannesburg, for example, the mayor was holding meetings with Eskom by herself while she also needed to attend meetings about hospital admissions of Covid-19 patients, so it was tough on her,” he said.

The delay in appointing executives meant that many areas did not have dedicated individuals to perform specific functions.

READ: ANC piles pressure on new Joburg mayor as DA coalitions in Gauteng metros hit speed bumps

“It’s critical to speed up the appointment of MMCs because services like water, electricity, roads and transport need special attention. We recently had floods in some areas in Gauteng and people were displaced, so an MMC of that portfolio was going to give the issue special attention.

“The issue of health and social development also needs someone to focus on it because the new Omicron variant and hospital admissions must be attended to. These are some of the things that are on hold for now because only the mayor’s office is at work. Other portfolios are awaiting directives from the MMCs,” said the source.

The DA’s federal executive committee will meet tomorrow to make a final decision on the issue regarding the two remaining metros.

Despite huge demands from other political parties, the committee finally approved a deal with the African Christian Democratic Party, the IFP and the African Transformation Movement in Mogale City.

However, the Freedom Front Plus allegedly declined an MMC position, but is still in line to take one of the 18 chairperson positions.

The committee also approved a coalition agreement with the same parties in Ekurhuleni.

According to the deal announced yesterday, the IFP was given the transport portfolio. ActionSA got two portfolios (health and social development, as well as community safety), while the Congress of the People was given infrastructure.

In Mogale City, the African Christian Democratic Party was given the public safety portfolio, while sport, arts, culture and recreation was given to the IFP. The African Transformation Party received the rural areas and human settlements portfolio.

ActionSA spokesperson Lerato Ngobeni said the ball was in the DA’s court.

She said: But whatever the DA decides, residents should be prioritised.

She said all concerned parties were working hard to ensure that the politics of the day did not affect service delivery.

Ngobeni was hopeful that everything would be resolved by the time the City of Johannesburg council sits on Tuesday.

“It’s in all our interests to form a stable government of local unity. We’ve all been pressing for the finality of this issue so that MMCs can be appointed and start working,” she said, adding that the Johannesburg mayor had been working hard and needed support.

Ngobeni declined to divulge the nature of her party’s demands, but said that if it did not agree to the offer on the table, it would be content to sit on the opposition benches.

–News24

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