Home News NC civic movements to be kingmakers in hung municipalities

NC civic movements to be kingmakers in hung municipalities

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Picture: Danie van der Lith

CIVIC movements and service delivery forums that secured seats in municipalities across the Northern Cape will prove to be the kingmakers in hung municipalities.

Ten hung municipalities emerged following the local government elections – Gamagara, Nama Khoi, Hantam, Karoo Hoogland, Kareeberg, Thembelihle, Siyathemba, Siyancuma, !Kheis and Kgatelopele municipalities – where there is no outright majority.

The Namakwa Civic Movement obtained eight council seats, while the Gamagara Community Forum received two seats and the Siyathemba Community Forum secured five seats.

ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga said on Thursday that he, along with ANC deputy provincial secretary Maruping Lekwene, was personally engaging with various civic movements.

“We are prepared to enter into coalitions with any party, other than the DA. The DA is a no-no for us due to our ideological differences,” said Ngxanga.

“We are willing to work together with the EFF – they are left-wing like the ANC, although we have not approached them yet.”

Ngxanga added that they preferred to conclude working agreements with civic movements.

“These members left the ANC to contest on their own, as they disagreed with the nomination process of councillors. We are certain that we can arrive at an understanding.”

He said the ANC shared the common objectives of community-driven service delivery forums, that they needed to focus on improving service delivery.

“We held our first discussions in Namakwa and Pixley ka Seme and the reception so far has been good.”

He indicated that all councillors would be forced to resign from their places of employment within both the private or public sectors before Monday.

“Councillors must be fully committed to their work as ward or council representatives – round the clock. We warned them in advance and if they do not agree to this they will be removed and we will hold a by-election. We expect them to devote their undivided attention to service delivery.”

Ngxanga stated that they would hold regional executive committee meetings on Thursday to nominate councillors, mayors and Speakers.

“Mayors are appointed with the understanding that they will be employed on a four-year contract. Once their contracts expire, they must apply for another position based on their skills and qualifications. They will not be automatically deployed, there will be no special favours offered to anyone.”

Ngxnanga assured that political staff would be required to work with existing staff. “No one who is doing their job will be fired. This will create more problems.”

The DA, which received the second highest number of votes in the Province, will also look towards forming coalitions with civic movements.

DA provincial chairperson Isak Fritz said that they had lost about eight percent of their votes to newcomers such as the PA, Good, service delivery forums and independent candidates.

“The national leadership will decide with which parties the DA will form coalitions. While we lost some support, we also gained some wards and retained our strongholds,” said Fritz.

EFF provincial spokesperson Obakeng Lechuti pointed out that the red berets are not interested in forming coalitions.

“We are not going into coalitions with anyone. We are fast gaining ground – where we toppled the DA as the official opposition in a number of municipalities in the Northern Cape. This is the first election where we contested in all municipalities and we have gained seats in different sub-regions,” said Lechuti.

He added that the EFF would align itself in council with political parties “with the same view”.

“We will not stand for anything that is wrong and will decide on each item that arises in council and vote accordingly.”

David Kok from the Sol Plaatje Service Delivery Forum pointed out that they had secured three proportional representative (PR) seats despite campaigning on a “zero budget”.

“We will be the bargaining chip in council to prevent the ruling party from bulldozing through decisions, even if this means longer meetings and more fighting. Our election into council is instilling fear that the ANC is losing its grip on power,” said Kok.

He stated that they were reluctant to enter into any coalitions with the ANC.

“Our voters left the ANC as they are tired of corruption, poor service delivery and infighting. Allowing residents to purchase electricity from Eskom will be our first item on the agenda. We need to keep the ANC accountable and are committed to keeping communities informed at all times. The balance of power must be restored.”

Kok added that PR councillors would be chosen by the leaders based on their abilities and not according to their popularity.

FF+ provincial leader Wynand Boshoff said that they were prepared to enter into coalitions with opposition parties with the exception of the ANC and EFF.

“Coalitions are not always easy, where members need to be subjected to the disciplinary code of conduct. We will work with parties that support a stable government. We welcome the new political parties as it will make it more difficult for the ANC to dominate the political landscape,” said Boshoff.

He noted that the FF+ had increased its support base in the Northern Cape and had managed to secure 13 council seats.

“We expected a decline in votes due to the new parties that contested this year.”

Umsobomvu Residents Association secretary Abongwe Poyo said that they were interested in teaming up with the DA in council.

“We do not believe that a coalition with the ANC will be in the best interests of the community. Our voters will never return to the ANC,” said Poyo.

“The arrogance of the regional leadership has demonstrated that they are unwilling to root out corruption and maladministration. We are not blinded by their attempts to renew the organisation.

“Only if they agree to implement the findings of the forensic investigation will we be open to any discussion with the ruling party.

“We are starting to eat the elephant, piece by piece.”

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