Despite smaller opposition parties airing concerns about how the legal framework for coalitions could benefit the ANC and DA, Deputy President Paul Mashatile described his first meeting to seek a framework that would ensure stability within coalition governments a success.
This after Mashatile invited political parties, which are represented in Parliament, to attend a coalition framework meeting to deal with the chaos infiltrating municipalities nationwide.
The meeting, which took place on Friday, was to initiate discussions regarding the upcoming National Dialogue on Coalition Governments, scheduled for 27 July.
Applauding the constructive interaction with the parties present, a statement issued by the Presidency said “all spheres of government” would be present at the dialogue, stating the involved parties were committed to putting citizens first.
According to the statement, Mashatile said:
We appreciate the positive manner in which the political parties have engaged with us as the government so that we can reach an agreement and commit ourselves to serving South Africans collectively. When we enter into co-governing arrangements, we must always remember that we are working toward a common goal: the realisation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united, and prosperous nation. We can be prosperous if we work together.
It was reported earlier by News24 the DA and UDM had confirmed their attendance at the meeting, with the EFF, ATM, and ANC all likely to attend as well.
This initiative came in response to a parliamentary question to the deputy president regarding the necessity of establishing order within multiparty governments, particularly without a legislative framework.
Acknowledging this, the Presidency said: “This framework will serve as a foundation for crafting appropriate legislation at a later stage.
“Despite the diverse views held by the political parties, there was unanimous agreement on the necessity for a national framework that ensures coalition governments remain responsive to the needs of the people of South Africa.
“The upcoming national dialogue aims to bring together all stakeholders under a cohesive approach, ensuring that governments can continue to serve communities effectively.”
However, smaller parties have expressed concern over the proposed legislation benefitting the ANC and protecting the top two parties’ dominance in government.
Although FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said Mashatile’s meeting with political leaders about a national dialogue on coalitions in South Africa was necessary, the legislative changes could benefit the ANC.
In a statement, he added: “What could be a problem is the ANC government’s intention to draft legislation for coalitions with an agenda to benefit itself.”
Groenewald said changing the electoral system to a constituency-based system could mean the ANC stayed in government, even when it did not get a majority of the votes.
Another possible amendment he is concerned about is the ANC’s proposal the president should come from the biggest party in a coalition.
The FF Plus believes the most suitable person should be the president. The party is also open to electing the president directly.
The FF Plus will participate in the process and dialogue about coalitions and present its viewpoints. This is especially important to prevent the ANC from introducing legislation that benefits itself.
News24 previously reported UDM leader Bantu Holomisa shared similar concerns, saying the proposal for the majority party to lead the coalition and the 1% threshold would limit the number of parties, particularly smaller ones, that could qualify for representation in legislatures.
He had opposed supporting the threshold and the proposed limitation to the motion of no confidence votes.
Holomisa said: “We must regulate coalitions because it is a new thing, especially if it will also be the case at national level.
“On local government, the law says you must have a government within 14 days; that is not enough time. You must give a party at least three to six months to negotiate with others.”