The ANC on Monday suffered a major blow after IFP councillors in key municipalities turned against it.
It had been guaranteed control of several hung KwaZulu-Natal councils through a deal with the IFP.
According to the ANC/IFP agreement announced by IFP president Velekosini Hlabisa last week, KZN’s official opposition would vote for the ruling party in hung municipalities where the ANC has the highest number of seats.
In return, the ANC would vote for the IFP in hung municipalities where the IFP had the highest number of seats.
However, voting patterns in some of the province’s hung municipalities during Monday’s council inaugurations show that IFP councillors went against the ANC/IFP agreement and voted against the ruling party.
In Newcastle, where the ANC had 22 seats and the IFP had 18, the IFP councillors voted against the ruling party, and with the support of the DA and other political parties, the IFP was able to take over the municipality.
In the uMvoti Municipality, the IFP councillors teamed up with those of the Abantu Batho Party (ABC) to keep the ANC out of power.
By late Monday afternoon, the ANC’s future in the strategic municipalities of eThekwini and uMhlathuze in Richards Bay was hanging in the balance, with the IFP, DA and other political parties plotting to isolate the ruling party during the council’s voting scheduled to take place in the next few hours.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the ruling party was in the process of gathering information on who political parties in the province voted for on Monday.
“At this stage, its difficult for us to say what happened. We will know for sure once we receive reports from the various municipalities,” he said.
How the pact between the ANC and the IFP has fallen apart is proof that none of the parties have the interest of the public. It was also proof that coalitions were fluid and could change within the hour. This was the view of political analyst Dr Protas Madlala.
Madlala’s comments came after the IFP took control of New Castle municipality when Xolani Dube emerged victorious in the election. New Castle municipality held its inaugural council meeting earlier today.
Dube was elected alongside Musa Thwala who will be his deputy and Thengi Zulu who will be the speaker of council.
Madlala said the agreement falling apart could be attributed to egos.
“This thing of so-called coalitions is so fluid that it changes every hour,” said Madlala.
He said this was proven by how the IFP firmly said they would never go into a coalition with the ANC only to later say they would cooperate with the ANC.
Madlala said he failed to make the connection between what the IFP had demanded during negotiations to service delivery.
“Going to the election the IFP prided itself with the clean record of service delivery,” said Madlala. He questioned how changing the names of highways (as was apparently demanded by the IFP) would change poor living conditions.
“What I have found in all these negotiations is ego. I don’t see public interest at all,” said Madlala.
He said that if any political party had the interest of the voter they would form a working relationship. “They would put the people first but they have all not done that,” said Madlala.