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The DA welcomes Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s commitment to support the introduction of legislation that will seek to stabilise coalition governments.
The DA has introduced three pieces of legislation which have been gazetted for public comment and are likely to be introduced to Parliament within the next couple of weeks. These Bills seek to amend the Constitution and the Municipal Structures Act of 1998.
These amendments will provide a legal framework for stable and accountable coalition governments at a local, provincial and national level. The laws will seek to achieve the following:
Introduce an electoral threshold that will be key to stabilizing overly-fragmented coalition governments. International best practice shows that most stable coalition governments around the world have electoral thresholds in place;
Expand the time allowed in the Constitution to negotiate and swear in a government after an election from 14 days to 30 days across local, provincial and national levels; and
Limit the use of motions of no confidence to once a year, provided there is evidence of laws being broken and objective gross misconduct. Motions of no confidence have been abused at a local government level. The impact of such a practice at a provincial or national level would be catastrophic.
When I questioned Deputy President Mashatile this afternoon about his party’s view on these Bills, he conceded that there is a need for a legal framework and that the provisions in the DA’s Bills speak to the nub of the crisis of instability.
He committed to bringing stakeholders together – political parties in Parliament, SALGA and government – to adopt policy and legislative interventions.
We trust that the ANC will put petty party differences aside and support these Bills in Parliament. It is critical that we put together coalition governments that are stable, clean and accountable. This will be especially important as we head towards the 2024 elections where the ANC is likely to lose its national majority and majority in a few provinces. Parliament must ready itself for a post ANC South Africa.
Issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP - Chief Whip of the Official Opposition