The coalition in Johannesburg remains on shaky ground ahead of a motion of no confidence vote against the City of Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse.
Phalatse is facing a third attempt at removing her from office after three motions of no confidence were filed by minority parties.
The motions were tabled during a programming committee meeting, and will be an item on the agenda at the City’s next council sitting on Thursday.
ActionSA has accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) of scuppering a deal with the Patriotic Alliance (PA), whose votes will be needed to prevent Phalatse’s removal from office yet again.
The PA previously abandoned the governing multiparty coalition in Johannesburg to join forces with the ANC.
This resulted in Phalatse being voted out through a motion of no confidence in September 2022.
Since then, the DA has been in talks with parties, including ActionSA, in order to rebuild the coalition agreement in the metro although Phalatse was reinstated as mayor following a court order.
On Wednesday, ActionSA chairperson Michael Beaumont said the PA had accepted a deal that would have restored the Joburg coalition.
According to Beaumont, the deal would see ActionSA sacrifice two positions on the mayoral committee to accommodate the PA, which joined the coalition in February last year.
However, DA’s federal executive (Fedex) rejected the deal.
Beaumont claimed the DA’s stated reasons for rejecting the deal were “a false pretence to mask their intention to allow the coalition government to collapse in Johannesburg”.
“Citing concerns about the PA’s intentions in the economic development portfolio is irrational. If evidence exists that a party plans to commit corruption within the coalition, they should not be brought in any position.
“Despite this, the DA accepts the PA in the position of roads and transport, which houses a much larger budget and procurement capacity,” Beaumont said in a statement.
The coalition partners implored the DA to reconsider, but according to Beaumont, the party refused.
“The DA refused to amend their position.”
This is not the first time ActionSA has accused the DA of playing a role in the collapse of the coalition.
Beaumont further warned that the motion against Phalatse will most likely succeed because of DA’s actions.
“On 24 January, a meeting of the national coalition structure wrote to DA Leader John Steenhuisen and urged the DA Fedex to reconsider its position in rejecting a deal that had been accepted by the PA and agreed by all negotiating teams. Despite the urgency of an impending motion of no confidence on Thursday, the DA has not favoured its partners with a response,” he continued.
“As a direct result of the DA’s actions this motion will most likely succeed and see the return of the ANC in Johannesburg and pave the way for an EFF mayoralty in Ekurhuleni.”
Beaumont described the DA’s actions as “deliberate and inexcusable betrayal of the public commitment made by parties in the coalition to keep the ANC out of government and provide an alternative to all South Africans”.
“It has produced a bizarre dynamic where coalition partners have worked tirelessly to keep mayor Phalatse in office while the DA is obstructionist to this agenda.
“ActionSA denounces this short-sightedness by the DA to work to provide a coalition alternative to the residents of Johannesburg. The DA, by its actions, has all but ensured the collapse of a once-viable coalition in Johannesburg and has, from our perspectives, rendered themselves unfit to lead.”
But DA’s federal council chairperson Helen Zille hit back at ActionSA, saying the party was acting “in bad faith”.
“The ball is entirely in their court. Our Fedex met last night and sent an updated offer this morning, in good faith. ActionSA issued their statement even before considering our offer,” Zille told News24.
“That shows that they are not serious about these negotiations. While they should be making a considered response to a further compromise the DA has made, as we have done in good faith through these negotiations, they have ignored our response and are trying to apportion blame. That is very unfortunate.”
Meanwhile, PA deputy president, Kenny Kunene has criticised the DA for governing without considering its coalition partners.
Kunene informed EWN that the PA would support an ANC candidate for the mayoral position yet again if Phalatse was ousted.
“We are not garden boys of the DA, and DA is not our ‘baas’. That time is over, in case they are not aware,” Kunene said.