ANC seeks to replace DA with EFF or MK Party as Unity Government talks collapse


Johannesburg – The political landscape in Gauteng is as volatile as ever, with the newly formed Government of Provincial Unity (GPU) facing a precarious future, relying heavily on the support of opposition parties to pass crucial legislation.

The EFF, while remaining in the opposition, has signalled a willingness to work with the ANC-led government, but only if policies align with their ideological stance. This cautious approach, however, leaves the GPU in a precarious position, with the potential for deadlock and dysfunctionality looming large.

The GPU, which excludes the DA after they pulled out this week, is comprised of the ANC, IFP, PA, and Rise Mzansi. With a combined total of 33 seats out of 80 in the legislature, the GPU falls short of the 50+1 majority needed to pass a budget or any major legislation. This leaves them reliant on the support of other parties, most notably the EFF and the MK Party, who hold a combined 19 seats.

"We have been working with the ANC in local government and we will continue to work with them," said EFF Gauteng spokesperson Dumisani Baleni. "We will support any budget or law that will benefit the residents of Gauteng. However, this is not something that is on paper that we will support ANC all the time; we will assess and check if it aligns with our ideologies then we will take a decision."

Baleni's statement highlights the EFF's willingness to engage with the GPU, but their commitment comes with a caveat: the policies must align with their ideology. This suggests that the EFF will be scrutinising every proposal brought before the legislature, potentially leading to protracted negotiations and a heightened risk of deadlock.

The MK Party, on the other hand, remains undecided on whether to support the ANC-led government. "We will meet internally and make a decision and afterwards we will announce our positions," said the party's spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlhela. "For now we remain in the opposition and we will ensure that we hold government to account."

The MK Party's cautious stance reflects the uncertainty surrounding the GPU's future. While the party may be open to supporting the government on certain issues, their decision to remain in the opposition suggests that they are unlikely to be a reliable ally for the ANC.

Political analyst Prof Sethulego Matebesi has expressed concerns about the potential for dysfunctionality in the Gauteng legislature. "I foresee things being dysfunctional in that province which is the engine of this country," he said. "We have seen in the past how the EFF came to punish them. I foresee a situation where each time when it had to be voted, the ANC even outside their partnership with Rise Mzansi and parties like the IFP would have to go beforehand and negotiate with other parties. We have seen at municipal level that is not working at all."

Matebesi's assessment underscores the fragility of the GPU's position. Without the unwavering support of the opposition parties, the ANC and its partners face a constant struggle to pass legislation, potentially leading to a gridlock that could cripple the province's ability to function effectively.

"One thing you should also realise is that sometimes you might have these partners in government but there would be moments where they would be disagreements as we have seen on numerous occasions," said Matebesi. "You need at least an outright majority and that majority would be anything from 50 + 1 to be able to pass a vote."

The analyst's comments highlight the importance of communication and negotiation between the GPU partners and the opposition parties. The ANC, in particular, needs to extend an olive branch and engage in constructive dialogue with the EFF and MK Party, seeking to build consensus and secure their support for key legislation.

"But this would be very difficult because these parties are too fragmented, even before a decision was done in announcing the cabinet, they did not see eye to eye, I don’t see them finding each other now," said Matebesi. "If everything grinds to a halt at the biggest economy in SA, ANC and DA, who have the largest number of seas, would be to blame."

Matebesi's concerns are valid. The fragmentation of the political landscape in Gauteng makes it difficult to build a stable and functional government. The ANC's failure to secure a majority in the legislature has created a situation where the government is at the mercy of the opposition, with the potential for deadlock and dysfunctionality looming large.

The future of the Gauteng legislature remains uncertain. The EFF's willingness to work with the ANC-led government offers a glimmer of hope, but their strict adherence to their ideological principles could prove to be a major obstacle. The MK Party's undecided stance further complicates the situation, leaving the GPU in a precarious position.

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