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ANC is now desperately prepared to jump in bed with anybody

In a seemingly desperate bid to cling to power, the ANC is prepared to get into bed with any political party including the DA to form coalition governments in hung municipalities.

The governing party’s national executive committee’s special meeting at St George’s Hotel in Irene, Pretoria, yesterday gave its negotiators the green light to talk to any party prepared to work with Luthuli House.

The marathon special NEC meeting was called to discuss and decide on an approach to be adopted ahead of the coalitions negotiations after the governing party’s electoral support dropped so significantly it only managed to hold on to two of the country’s eight most sought-after metros.

Around the same time, the official opposition the DA’s federal executive was also in a meeting discussing how it would approach the issue of coalitions.

With the ANC’s willingness to get into bed with effectively any willing partner, the ball now remains in the DA’s court.

The senate of ActionSA, one of the newest kingmakers in Gauteng, met last night to discuss inputs from its two-day poll to gauge the views of its supporters on who it should partner with.

ANC acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the NEC has given its team of negotiators, which includes veteran member Jeff Radebe, to speak “to any political party willing to work with us”.

The ANC faces the likelihood of finding itself in opposition benches in at least four of the country’s metros, including the City of Joburg, as it failed to get majority support during last week’s local government elections.

Duarte said the NEC was briefed about some meetings with other political parties about possible coalitions which have already taken place. “The direction which the discussion is taking [in the special meeting] is that the negotiating team of the ANC is being given a mandate to talk to any political party that could talk to us so that we open the door to anyone who want to talk to us,” Duarte said. 

The ANC needs to form a majority government in Tshwane but needs an extra 33 seats. In Johannesburg it needs 45 more seats and Ekurhuleni 23 additional seats to govern.

The ANC also needs support in eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal and Nelson Mandela Bay in Gqeberha where it is short of 16 and 13 seats respectively.

Those in the ANC who are against the idea of pursuing coalitions with the DA seem to have accepted defeat as the NEC endorsed the casting of the net wider in search of willing partners.

Duarte said it was open to working with any party willing to join forces with Luthuli House.

“We gave a report to the NEC on who we have discussed with thus far. We also need to indicate that talks are still in the making. We have made no arrangement and there’s no agreement with anyone except those parties that have agreed to work with the ANC across the country wherever they have a seat,” Duarte said.

She said it would not divulge the names of the parties it has talked to so far, however, Sowetan understands that those parties include the EFF and Patriotic Alliance (PA).

Radebe stressed the importance of the metro municipality and their role in the country’s economy. “Our analysis indicates that the in municipalities we call the metros, there are about 22.1 million South Africans who live there… when you look at the GDP, our metros constitute about R2.2-trillion,” Radebe said.

He said the metros were the centres of economic activity and that is an important element for the ANC as they get into coalition negotiations.

PA deputy president Kenny Kunene confirmed that it has “formally” the ANC, which was led by its treasurer-general Paul Mashatile to discuss possible coalitions.

“Our first approach is that we are not selective and we do not prioritise other parties over the others. We will go into coalition with anybody that understands that service delivery is a matter of urgency for our people,” Kunene said.

He said they have had informal discussions with other political parties on possible working together. “I can confirm that we have had a conversation unofficially with the Freedom Front Plus, which went good but officially we have met with the ANC and the talks went very well, however, they’re meeting their NEC and obviously there would be a follow-up meeting,” Kunene said.

Kunene also confirmed that party leader Gayton McKenzie was scheduled to meet the DA in Cape Town yesterday.

The PA has enough seats to help propel the ANC into pole position, especially in Gauteng metros as the small party has eight seats in Johannesburg, four in Ekurhuleni and one in Tshwane.

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