South Africa: The DA Has Been the Most Difficult Coalition Partner - Mashaba

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, left; new DA Federal Council Chairperson, Helen Zille, centre; and Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.

Pulling no punches as he stepped down, outgoing DA mayor Herman Mashaba said the DA has been the most difficult coalition partner in the City of Johannesburg.

Mashaba's anticipated resignation came on the back of the election of Helen Zille as DA federal council chairperson this weekend.

He held a media briefing in the council chambers where he said that, from his first day in office, the coalition arrangement in the City had been "undermined, criticised and rendered nearly impossible".

"Despite the fact that coalitions survive on consultation, shared programmes and recognising the contributions of each member, the DA has criticised and questioned my approach. Despite the DA only winning 38% of the vote in 2016, elements in the party have expected me to govern arrogantly as if I have an outright majority."

Mashaba added that during his tenure, he was forced to deal with DA members who drew artificial distinctions between service delivery in informal settlements and suburbs as a binary.

"I have had to deal with individuals who would rather I spent more time cutting grass than on fixing our broken and aged infrastructure which threatened disaster in our city," he added.

'Right-wing elements'

Mashaba, who anticipated that he would be pushed out by the party, said he would hold off on his resignation as mayor until November 27 for the DA to identify a new candidate.

Two weeks ago, Mashaba threatened to leave the party if "right-wing elements" started influencing the party, saying many in the party would no longer feel at home.

The 1959 committee, otherwise known as the "pure liberals", emerged victorious during the DA's two-day federal council meeting over the weekend where Zille was elected federal council chairperson.

In battling to chart its way and its message to South Africans, the party has struggled to define itself, with some wanting it to remain pure and orthodox and others arguing that it should be about embracing and rallying around shared values.

A report party leader Mmusi Maimane commissioned to review its losses during the May general elections proved damning for him.

Maimane was found to be inconsistent and indecisive by the panel, chaired by former party leader Tony Leon.

The review panel also questioned the DA's decision to go into an informal partnership with the EFF.

The EFF and Mashaba have had a seamless relationship with EFF leader Julius Malema going so far as to say that he would beg Mashaba to stay on as mayor.

However, the panel said forming governments with the EFF's support in Johannesburg and Tshwane was a mistake.

"I maintain that coalitions are the future of South African politics. For a political party to back away from such arrangements 18 months before local government elections, that will invariably produce more coalitions, is tantamount to declaring itself to be unsuitable for the future," Mashaba said.

Source: News24

More From: News24Wire

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