ANC and DA should explore coalitions in areas like Nelson Mandela Bay: Expert

Public management expert and researcher Crispian Olver says election results are an example of how coalitions will be permanent feature.

A voter casts his vote at the Freeway Park voting station in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni on 1 November 2021. Picture: Xandeleigh Makhaza Dookey/Eyewitness News

A public management expert and researcher says the African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA) should consider working coalitions, especially in metros like Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Eastern Cape metro finds itself in a familiar predicament following Monday's election, with the DA and the ANC failing to win an absolute majority.

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Crispian Olver is the author of How to Steal a city: The Battle for Nelson Mandela Bay, an insider account of the previous ANC administration and how factional politics within the ruling party brought the metro to its knees.

Olver said the recent results were an example of how coalitions would be permanent feature in local politics.

He added that parties should get used to coalescing.

“I know neither party has been willing to contemplate this, but probably the most stable agreement would be between the two parties occupying the middle ground and that's the ANC and the DA. Whether they can overcome their differences to do that, I don't know. The posturing that we've seen from both parties to suggest that that's unlikely, but who knows.”

He said coalition agreements should not be based on positions of power.

“What are we going to agree to do as a coalition and once you've decided what you want to do you can then work out who's best placed to do that. So, we've got to move this fight over positions down a notch.”

Olver explained that what we didn’t want was a situation where Nelson Mandela Bay citizens were again exposed to political instability and seeing that play out in the city administration.

He said the party's should coalesce around a common service delivery platform, around a clean governance agenda and making sure getting sure the finances to pay for those services are there.

There are a record 66 hung councils after the elections with parties engaged in frantic talks to form coalitions. In Nelson Mandela Bay the ANC looks set to govern in a coalition with the EFF and other smaller parties.