Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille said the DA could not repeat the “drama” which resulted from former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s previous stint in the mayoral seat, which required the support of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for many of his plans.
The Johannesburg metro council will meet on Monday to swear in councillors and to elect a Mayor and Speaker.
Zille said even if the DA supported the coalition to form a minority government under Mashaba in Johannesburg, it would still need the African National Congress (ANC) or EFF to pass budgets and other critical mandatory council decisions.
“Throughout the election campaign, the DA has been steadfast in its position that we would rather be a strong opposition than being part of a shaky coalition that limps from meeting to meeting and depends on the support of the EFF. The DA will remain true to its values and principles as promised to its voters before the election,” she said.
Zille said the deadlock in many of the councils in South Africa is not as a result of anything the DA has done but rather the split in the opposition votes, and the decision by parties such as the Patriotic Alliance and the Inkatha Freedom Party to throw their weight behind the ANC.
She said this decision made it impossible for opposition parties to form a majority coalition in Johannesburg and effectively gave the balance of power to the EFF.
Zille said a minority coalition in Johannesburg would not be able to govern without the support of the EFF.
She claimed that the EFF would be able to direct the mayor's actions on many issues, as it did after 2016 when Mashaba became the "EFF's mayor". She said the DA did not intend to repeat that “failed mission” again.
“We cannot allow the EFF in by the back door, where they pretend to be out of government but are actually the puppet masters behind a minority coalition led by Herman Mashaba. We tried that before and it failed. We learn from experience and we keep our promises,” she said.