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DA woos ActionSA, ACDP and Freedom Front Plus as coalition partners but is ‘not desperate’

DA leader John Steenhuisen says the party has reached out to several smaller political parties with draft coalition agreements.
DA leader John Steenhuisen says the party has reached out to several smaller political parties with draft coalition agreements.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The DA says it has reached out to several smaller political parties — including ActionSA, the ACDP and Freedom Front Plus — with draft coalition agreements in a bid to form stable coalitions to govern some of the country’s hung municipalities.         

DA leader John Steenhuisen made the remarks after the party’s federal executive meeting on Sunday, after the 2021 local government elections left 61 municipalities with no outright winner.

The party maintains it will not work with the ANC or the EFF under any circumstances.

“We will not be entering into any coalition agreement with the EFF and ANC or any other party that does not subscribe to constitutionalism, the rule of law, the social market economy, a capable state and nonracialism. These are non-negotiables for the DA. We learnt to our own detriment what happens when you try to enter into agreements with parties that don’t share these core fundamentals,” said Steenhuisen. 

The party is of the view that getting into a coalition with the ANC would be handing it a lifeline on a silver platter after plunging the country into difficulties.

“It is not the DA’s job to save the ANC. That’s not what our voters want. It’s not what our mission is as a party. Our job is to save SA. The two are not compatible. 

“We can have a growing economy, a country that works, a capable administration that delivers, jobs for people and municipal service delivery, but you cannot have that with the ANC. The last 20 years have shown that.”  

Steenhuisen would not go into reasons behind his refusal to work with the EFF. 

The party said it wants to form stable coalitions that are able to govern and govern well for all South Africans in the hung municipalities, but it is not desperate for control.

This after the last auditor-general report found most municipalities to be on the brink of collapse.

“There is a crisis in municipalities around the country of failing service delivery and it is having real consequences on the lives of South Africans. Jobs are being lost as a result of poor service delivery, opportunities are being wasted due to corruption. 

“We have huge companies leaving small towns across the length and breadth of SA because municipalities cannot keep the lights on, cannot keep water flowing and cannot keep sewage off the streets. We are committed, where we can form government, to address these key issues.”    

Steenhuisen would not go into what the DA was offering the smaller parties other than to  say coalitions are not going to be concluded on the basis of patronage, saying this was a huge red line for the party. 

If the parties do not accept what the DA is putting on the table, the party said it is not desperate for power and would be happy to occupy the opposition benches.

“We will not hesitate to walk away from any negotiations which attempt to put any of those terms on the table. If we are going to build a capable state in SA, we need municipal appointments made on merit, on ability to do the job, on being able to [have] those services delivered. That should be the only thing that matters.  

“We are not prepared to go into government at all cost. There are red lines for us, and where we cannot conclude strong government that delivers for all, we will be more than prepared to walk away.” 

The DA said it was not in coalition talks to play political games but ensure voters have the best shot at having a strong, solid, principled and stable government for the next five years.