Getting on with the heat of the coming local government election, there are rising speculations that the DA and the ruling ANC could have a coalition in August.
A political analyst Daniel Silke said not minding the political antagonism between the ruling African National Congress and other political parties, especially the Democratic Alliance, the election month might witness a spate of coalition governments in both metros and local municipalities across the country.
According to Silke, there is a high possibility that either or both Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Tshwane might fail to elect a single majority party if opinion polls are to be believed.
Should this be the case, both the ANC and the DA can form coalition with either Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) or other smaller parties like COPE, UDM in order to achieve a stable governance.
However, Silke argued that such coalition could put participating parties at risk. The ANC could be put on the back foot.
A loss of overall control in any of the big, symbolically important metros will itself have a devastating effect on the governing party, its morale, faith in future polls and ultimately confidence in leadership, Silke said
Weekly election polls proved that the Democratic Alliance is leading across the three most hotly contested metros ahead of the 2016 municipal elections.
The poll’s result revealed that the DA would win two of the three most hotly contested metros – Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane, with Johannesburg still under the control of the ANC.
Considering all these, forming a coalition to govern a major metro outside of Cape Town could be all Mmusi Maimane need to cement his victory as the DA leader.
EFF Cannot be Overlooked
No doubt, both the ANC and the DA will be under pressure to do deals. The DA has a successful history in coalition building – having secured Cape Town with a multi-party – and ideologically diverse – six-party coalition in 2006.
However, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) can not be overlooked at this time as the party stands as the third largest and strongest party.
According to the analyst, though the EFF support is likely to be under double-digits, it will be enough for them to push either the DA or ANC into the pound seats.
“No one has yet worked with the EFF and their brand of disruptive politics coupled with the populism of Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe make them the DA’s most problematic option.
“In the past, the DA largely found compatibility with its smaller coalition partners over a common adherence to some variation of a social market economy – somewhat removed from the EFF’s land distribution and nationalization ethos,” Silke said.
Conclusively, Silke noted that despite how unrealistic it is for the DA and the ANC to form a coalition, the two may decide to do so in order to provide a substantial ‘unity’ government in key local authorities.
He however noted that such grand coalition would divide both parties. And, ‘heaven forbid’, it might also shake the foundations of both entities to such an extent that old boundaries, prejudices and suspicions dissolve to forge a new centrist political force.