The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng is facing a dilemma regarding its seemingly deteriorating relationship with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Ekurhuleni. The party is grappling with the decision of whether to maintain its co-governance arrangement with the EFF in the municipality or to exit it, a move that could potentially jeopardize its arrangements in other Gauteng municipalities including Johannesburg, Mogale City, and West Rand.
Controversy Surrounding the Co-Governance Arrangement
ANC leaders in the Ekurhuleni region believe that the relationship with the EFF is no longer working and have written to Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters, requesting that the ANC considers exiting it. Fikile Mbalula, the chief of Luthuli House, has expressed that the party should not be in a relationship with an EFF that attacks it on every platform. This discussion is understood to have formed a significant part of the ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting on Monday.
Addressing Concerns and Future Plans
The party’s provincial secretary, Thembinkosi Nciza, stated that they will meet with the EFF to address some of the concerns raised by ANC leaders in the Ekurhuleni region regarding their working relationship there. He acknowledged that the concept of coalitions was new in the South African context and clashes were therefore inevitable.
Nciza mentioned that they would meet to review whether the coalition arrangement in Ekurhuleni is fulfilling its intended purpose and see whether issues raised can be addressed. Some of these issues were raised by Jongizizwe Dlabathi, the ANC Ekurhuleni acting chair, in a letter to Mbalula where he stated that the coalition arrangement was detrimental to the ANC.
Despite these challenges, Nciza emphasized that they will continue to engage not only with the EFF but with other coalition partners as well. He also cautioned regions against making public pronouncements on coalition matters without first taking the PEC into confidence on any shifting perspectives and realities on the ground.