HUNG COUNCILS, POST-ELECTION ISSUES IN FOCUS AFTER SOUTH AFRICAN LOCAL GOVT POLLS

With last Wednesday’s 2016 local government elections done and dusted, many outstanding issues are set to dominate the local political landscape in the coming weeks.

Independent candidates in the Potchefstroom-based Tlokwe municipality in North West Province are preparing to file a complaint with the Electoral Court against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will also be calling the shots in many of the hung councils, including the Nelson Mandela Bay, City of Tshwane as well as the City of Johannesburg metropolitan municipalities, where they have the power to decide who governs.

The ruling African Nation Congress (ANC) in Western Cape Province says a special Provincial Executive Committee meeting will be on convened in Cape Town this week to discuss a report on the local government elections, the formation of coalitions in municipalities where no party has an outright majority and the way forward for the next five years.

In Tlokwe, independent candidates say some voters in Tlokwe were denied the right to vote in last week’s municipal elections as a result of the amalgamation of Tlokwe and Ventersdorp municipalities by the Municipal Demarcation Board. The merger led to some wards and boundaries being changed.

The spokesperson for independent candidates in Tlokwe, David Kham, said they would be approaching the Electoral Court on the matter.

We raised this matter prior to the elections and now during the elections it happened; people from Tlokwe had to go as far as Ventersdorp to go and cast their votes there. Some were denied access there. Even here, people had to cross boundaries to go and cast their vote. So, we are definitely going to be taking the matter to court.

The IEC’s Provincial Electoral Officer in North West Province, TumelontleThiba, said the independent candidates were at liberty to take their matter to the Electoral Court. “They can do that because it is their constitutional right to do so.

The IEC also still has to finalise the allocation of Proportional Representation (PR) seats to political parties after Wednesday’s municipal elections in Northern Cape Province. Proportional representation plays a critical role in the number of members each party has on a council.

The IEC Provincial Electoral Officer in Northern Cape Province, Bonolo Modise, said a total of 14 councils remain unconfirmed.

“There are twelve councils that can be confirmed but there are fourteen others that are also outstanding. The ward seats are easy to determine. Whoever gets the highest number of votes becomes the ward councillor and that is why we have all the ward councils determined,” he said.

“Remember that the system of Proportional Representation ensures that what some people call ‘smaller parties’ are given an opportunity to participate in governance. That is why you would realise that parties that won the most ward seats do not normally get a large number of PR seats, because of the Proportional Representation system.”

Coalition talks between parties and their outcomes will dominate South Africa’s political scene this week after the local elections failed to yield an outright winner in more than 20 municipalities.

The most intense negotiations are expected in the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros, where the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is the kingmaker between the African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA). Talks may also be needed in Rustenburg, in North West Province

The Independent Forum for Service Delivery, the EFF and other opposition parties have pledged their support for a coalition to unseat the ANC in Rustenburg. However, ANC Provincial Secretary in North West, Dakota Legoete, says once the PR councillors (PRCs) are allocated, his party will have an outright majority.

We must say we have retained Rustenburg. Out of almost 45 wards, we are comfortable with 34 wards. We are going to emerge as the majority party in Rustenburg. The issue of a coalition will not be a threat to us.”

Different political parties have pointed out at their willingness to enter into negotiations for possible coalitions.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK