Sunday, June 23, 2024

Cape Town mayor warns of ‘devastating’ far-left coalition after election

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Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has issued a stark warning about the potential “devastating” consequences of a far-left coalition government in South Africa following this week’s election. With the ruling African National Congress (ANC) predicted to lose its long-held parliamentary majority, the possibility of alliances with populist parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) or the new uMkhonto weSizwe Party looms large. Both parties advocate for radical economic changes, including the nationalization of mines and banks. As the Democratic Alliance (DA) seeks to maximize its vote share for post-election bargaining power, DA leader John Steehuisen has not ruled out a coalition with the ANC to avoid what he calls the “doomsday scenario” of an EFF-influenced government. The political landscape remains uncertain, with smaller parties like GOOD urging patience until election results reveal the true direction of South Africa’s future.

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By Mike Cohen

The mayor of South Africa’s second-biggest city warned of “devastating” consequences should populist parties be included in a coalition government after this week’s election. 

A series of opinion polls show the ruling African National Congress will lose the parliamentary majority it’s held for the past three decades, and will likely enlist the support of one or more smaller rivals to retain power. If its backing falls below about 45%, it may tie up with the business-friendly Democratic Alliance, or either the Economic Freedom Fighters or the new uMkhonto weSizwe Party, both of which favor the nationalization of mines and banks. 

The DA is focusing on securing the biggest possible share of the vote to ensure it has the maximum bargaining power post the election, Geordin Hill-Lewis, the mayor of Cape Town and a senior member of the party, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Jennifer Zabasajja on Monday.       

“It is really almost impossible to predict exactly how these new government negotiations are going to turn out,” he said. “I think it would be devastating development for South Africa to have a far-left government of the EFF and we should do quite a lot to prevent that happening.”

Read more: Mapping out SA’s post-election landscape: John Endres & Anlu Keeve

DA leader John Steehuisen has indicated his party may consider a tie-up with the ANC to prevent what he’s referred to as the “doomsday scenario” of the EFF being in government, although a coalition with the ruling party isn’t his preferred option.  

Patricia de Lille, the leader of the small GOOD party who serves as tourism minister in the national cabinet, played down the likelihood that no party will win the election outright.

“It’s all speculation,” she said in a separate interview. “I can’t wait for the 29th when South Africans will be speaking and once they have spoken, it is then for parties to see what the lay of the land is.”

Read also

  • Malema’s EFF: Political disruptor and potential kingmaker in Election’24
  • Historic shifts: What’s different about SA’s Election’24
  • What if this is SA’s last election?: Gabriel Crouse

2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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