Stating the obvious, the easy work has been done by appointing the new Mayors. Even that was not as smooth as expected especially when the EFF accused Herman Mashaba, the DA’s candidate for Mayor in Joburg, as being “anti-black.” It is a matter of record that the EFF have been a disruptive influence with incendiary speech and spectacle being their trademarks. Will the leopard change his spots in order to play the coalition politics’ game or will it continually blackmail its coalition partners?
Contrary to the news headlines, the EFF only received 8.2% of the vote nationally. The only reason why the EFF is able to punch above their weight is that they are the kingmaker in most of the “hung” councils. The only glue that binds the DA & the EFF with such divergent policies is their desire to dethrone the ANC.
Nothing more and nothing less.
Main picture: Emblematic of the new South Africa – Mmusi Maimane with his wife Natalie
Is Julius Malema able to discard the wrecking ball in favour of compromise? Given their track record it does not bode well for the DA. The most obvious obstacle will be the budget. Given the strategy of vitriol & spectacle, will they still impugn the integrity of black DA leaders who they only consider worthy of contempt for being the handmaidens of white capital? Will they support a budget proposed by the DA even though it is pro-business? Will they object to the budget on a line by line basis in order that their policy objectives are enshrined in the final product?
Another issue which could raise its head within weeks of the appointment of the new mayors, is the removal of illegal occupants of land. This aspect is so germane to the EFF’s being that it is questionable whether the EFF will not baulk at supporting the continued implementation of this policy. What about the EFF’s continual exhortation of blacks to seize white land? Will they demand this action in those Councils where they share power?
It is not simply about the land question, but also the EFF’s anti-business and anti-white stance. Mmusi Maimane had already had to endure the taunts of Julius Malema about being a white stooge.
Fortunately for the DA, Maimane has endured the EFF’s vitriol without adopting Malema’s loutish behaviour or even responding at all. What Maimane might have to remind Malema in confidence is that 92% of the electorate did not vote for the EFF’s radical policies. Perhaps he should rub salt into Malema’s wounds by reminding him that he had prophesised that the EFF would obtain at least 20% to 30% of the vote instead of the derisory 8.2%.
Expect a roller-coaster ride with the “coalitions” in certain Councils ending in recriminations. Need I say that the ANC will exploit all manner of policy contradictions to their advantage? The boot will effectively be on the other foot now where the ANC will taunt the EFF for every perceived misstep of the DA. Will the EFF possess sufficient self-restraint not to revert to type?
In what will certainly prove to be a tumultuous four years, the maturity of both parties – the DA & the EFF – will be sorely challenged. The test for the EFF will be the art of compromise for which they are not renowned. For the DA, it will be twofold. Firstly in compromising there will be the inevitable leftward shift. With its long-term future inextricably linked to predominant black voters and supporters, this could well result in disillusioned right wing whites either abstaining or possibly voting for the ACDP, IFP or even the Vryheid’s Front Plus. Maybe this action will be painful for the DA, but given South Africa’s demographics, this is the only viable path for a party intent on attaining power. In this process the DA will effectively have completed its transformation from a white party, to a white / coloured / Indian party to a fully multi-racial party. Ironically that will leave both the ANC & the EFF as being black parties with both possessing anti-white instincts & elements.
It now remains to be seen how all three of the major parties will handle the minefields lying ahead. There is no map to indicate where the mines are strewn and with their troops wandering around within the uncharted territory, some in their haste to obtain unfair advantage will unintentionally set off mines with its unintended collateral damage.
Fasten your seat belts.
South African can expect the ride of its life over the next four years.
The hard work has only now begun for the DA.
With no rule book in hand, it will require wisdom, patience and sometimes a very thick skin
Just ask Mmusi Maimane!
Perhaps the EFF will yet confound its sceptics and critics!