DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille has dismissed claims that the official opposition had “double-crossed” and betrayed ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba by fielding its own mayoral candidate in Johannesburg despite the push by other opposition parties to have Mashaba put forward as a candidate.
This comes as political parties are cobbling coalitions and voting blocks that could secure a clear majority ahead of the council seating in the economic hub scheduled for Monday.
With no party enjoying clear majority, the DA, FF Plus, ActionSA , COPE and UDM have been holding marathon talks in a bid to use their collective majority to back DA mayoral candidate Randal Williams in Tshwane, with the parties pushing for Mashaba to be fielded in Johannesburg where his new party secure 16% as part of the coalition pact.
The DA’s federal executive (Fedex) had however resolved on Saturday that it would field its mayoral candidate Mpho Phalatse.
The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that Mashaba had been left shocked by the move and that he had accused the DA of dishonesty during coalition and of double-crossing him again.
Zille however dismissed the allegation and instead accused Mashaba of wanting to rope in the EFF despite its rejection in the coalition talks by the DA.
“Herman Mashaba’s plan to become Mayor of Johannesburg proposes that he be at the helm of a minority coalition that cannot govern without the EFF. We have been through that movie before, in the difficult (often traumatic) years since 2016. We said we would not repeat it. We have never misled him or given a contrary indication. He has NOT been double-crossed,” Zille said.
Zille indicated that the DA’s decision to put forward Phalatse instead of Mashaba was in line with the party’s electoral commitments ahead of the elections.
“It should come as absolutely no surprise that we continue with our stated commitment. Mpho Phalatse is our mayoral candidate and the DA will vote for her,” he said.
The move was however set to put the DA-led coalition efforts into disarray as Mashaba reportedly threatened not to back the DA’s candidate in Tshwane.
Zille however insisted that a minority coalition dependent on the EFF was likely to result in the instability that happened when the red berets helped the DA secure Tshwane and Johannesburg while staying outside of the formal coalitions.
“The EFF does not want to be in the executives of local government. They want to control the decision-making processes of government from the opposition benches. The EFF isn’t interested in the comparatively modest salaries of executive office. They know that people in these positions may not interfere with administrative appointments, nor the awarding of tenders and contracts,” Zille claimed.
The DA had indicated that its decision on the proposal by other opposition parties would be revisited and a final decision be made on Sunday ahead of the council meeting.