Following the recent local government elections, I wrote the following four posts about the state of play in the 27 hung municipal councils where none of the political parties contesting the election in a municipality had a clear majority of the seats allocated:
- Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Metro Picture
- Coalition Fever: An Overview of the picture in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces
- Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Picture in KwaZulu-Natal
- Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Picture in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces
The final coalition whistle blew on 25 out of the 27 hung councils who had their statutory meetings to elect mayors, speakers and other office bearers before the deadline of 14 days after the IEC declared and gazetted the final results. The 2 outstanding municipal councils who still need to elect their office bearers are the following:
- Jozini in KwaZulu-Natal where the municipal council have met three times and every time deadlocked with 20 votes to each coalition with the ANC (19) and 1 independent councillors voting together and the IFP (18), EFF (1) and DA (1) voting together -> ANC pushing for a by-election in Jozini
- Kgatelopele in the Northern Cape where The DA and KCF agreed to a coalition to form a majority government with 4 seats (2 each) out of the 7 seats on the council. One of the DA Councillors was however shot execution style before the council meeting and the council therefore have 1 vacancy currently and the DA/KCF coalition could not be formalised. An ANC member was subsequently arrested and charged for the murder of the DA Councillor -> ANC ward candidate charged with DA councillor’s murder
National coalition agreements reached
Following the elections, the major political parties scurried to secure coalitions in as many of the 27 hung councils as possible (see this article for an overview of what happened behind the scenes -> The six meetings that changed South African Politics ). In the end the DA formed a coalition on a national basis with a number of smaller parties such as COPE, the UDM, ACDP and the FF+ (DA enters into coalition with UDM, ACDP, IFP, COPE) whereas the EFF decided not to enter into any formal coalitions but to support the DA in voting for office bearers in municipalities where this will result in the ANC being unseated (EFF not going into coalition government with any other party ).
This basically outmanoeuvred the ANC nationally, leaving them very little room to negotiate and secure locally agreed coalitions in a small number of the 27 hung municipal councils. As things unfolded thereafter in 25 of the 27 hung municipal councils, bore testimony that in the 2016 coalitions stakes the ANC was the biggest loser, the DA the biggest winner but that the EFF is the party that still holds the key in many of these municipalities.
Local coalition developments
Despite the nationally agreed coalitions secured by the DA and the EFF’s approach to strategically support what they called the lesser of two evils namely the DA, at local level a few interesting developments still unfolded in the following 6 hung municipal councils:
- Mogale City in Gauteng where despite the election of DA Mayor, an ANC speaker was elected with speculation that the IFP voted with ANC for speaker and with DA for Mayor -> Mogale City elects a DA mayor & ANC speaker
- Rustenburg in the North West where the EFF had its best chance to govern a municipality but where they were left disappointed when the BCM voted with the ANC to deny them this opportunity -> Newly elected ANC mayor shocked at result
- Modimolle/Mookgopong in Limpopo where 2 ANC members must have voted for a DA Mayor as the DA candidate received 17 votes in total as opposed to the 15 the DA expected (7 from DA, 6 from the EFF and 2 from the FF+) -> ANC loses Modimolle mayor post to DA
- Nquthu in KwaZulu-Natal where the ANC subsequently disputed the outcome of the mayoral election -> ANC disputes outcome of Nquthu council meeting
- eDumbe in KwaZulu-Natal where two IFP Councillors voted together with ANC and against the wishes of their party and were subsequently expelled from the IFP -> IFP in KZN expels two councillors for siding with ANC
- Kannaland in the Western Cape where ANC/DA coalition has the majority in Council although both parties have indicated that they did not officially form a coalition. The DA is busy investigating the fact that 2 DA Councillors voted with the ANC against the national leaderships wishes -> DA to discipline Kannaland councillors
I have captured the outcome of the forming of coalitions for each of the 27 hung municipal councils in the table that’s attached at the end of this article. The information is as far as I could ascertain correct for each municipality however in a number of instances I had to make certain assumptions as all the information required was not always in the public domain. I also relied on the following valuable entry in Wikipedia that sets out in detail the outcome of the 2016 local government elections -> South African Municipal Elections, 2016 .
I then analysed the outcome across the 27 municipalities to establish certain trends as how the coalition stakes unfolded. The major findings are set out below.
Minority vs majority coalition governments
In 11 of the 27 hung municipalities (40.74%) a minority government were formed where the leading coalition did not have enough seats/votes to secure a majority government and where they will therefore have to rely on the ongoing support of another party that’s not part of the ruling coalition.
Of these 11 municipalities the EFF’s support is required in 6 minority governments led by the DA (Johannesburg, Tshwane, Mogale City, Metsimaholo, Thabazimbe and Modimolle/Mookgopong), support from the EFF in 4 minority governments led by the IFP (Endumeni, Nquthu, Abaqulusi and Mtubatuba) and the support of at least one IFP councillor in 1 ANC led minority government (eDumbe). The EFF therefore holds the keys in 10 of the 11 minority local governments which will require careful management of the coalition/EFF relationships in these municipalities.
In 14 of the 27 hung municipalities (51.85%) the leading coalition were able to form a majority government. This includes 8 DA led municipalities (Nelson Mandela Bay, Witzenberg, Hessequa, Knysna, Prince Albert, Laingsburg, Beaufort West and Ubuntu), 5 ANC led municipalities (Ekurhuleni, Rustenburg, Estcourt/Loskop, Bitou and Nama Khoi) and 1 ANC/DA led municipality (Kannaland).
In 10 of the 14 majority government municipalities (71.42%) the leading coalition has secured just enough seats/votes to secure an ordinary majority. This includes 6 DA led municipalities (Nelson Mandela Bay, Witzenberg, Hessequa, Laingsburg, Beaufort West and Ubuntu), 3 ANC led municipalities (Rustenburg, Bitou and Nama Khoi) and 1 ANC/DA led municipality (Kannaland). This means that if any by-election is to take place in any of these 10 municipalities over the next 5 years, the balance of power could potentially shift to another party/coalition.
In only 4 majority government municipalities does the leading coalition have a majority of either +1 or +2 (one or two more seats than what is required for an ordinary majority). This is for the ANC in Estcourt/Loskop and the DA in Prince Albert = +1 majority and ANC in Ekurhuleni and the DA in Knysna = +2 majority).
The remaining 2 hung municipalities (7.40%) is still to be decided (Jozini and Kgatelopele).
Ruling coalition does not include the party that got the most votes/seats in the election
In 12 of the 25 decided hung municipalities (48%) the leading coalition is a group of parties that do not include the party that received the most votes/seats in the election. The worst affected by this is the ANC with 10 out of the 12 municipalities where in 8 of them they conceded government of the municipality to the DA and 2 municipalities to the IFP. The 10 municipalities in which the ANC received the most votes/seats in the 2016 local government elections, but where they still failed to form a leading coalition government are the following (major party leading the coalition in brackets):
- Johannesburg (DA)
- Metsimaholo (DA)
- Mogale City (DA)
- Thabazimbe (DA)
- Modimolle/Mookgopong (DA)
- Endumeni (IFP)
- Abaqulusi (IFP)
- Hessequa (DA)
- Laingsburg (DA)
- Ubuntu (DA)
The DA lost 1 municipality (Bitou) where the received the most votes to the ANC and ICOSA 1 municipality (Kannaland) to an ANC/DA coalition.
The 10 municipalities lost by the ANC is a direct consequence of their failure to reach formal coalitions at national level with any of the key political parties.
Change in leading party
The following table reflects the number of hung municipal councils where there was a change in the leading party in 2016 compared to the 2011 local government elections. The list contains only 23 hung municipalities because two newly demarcated municipalities (Modimolle/Mookgopong and Estcourt/Loskop) did not exist in 2011 and 2 hung municipalities still needs to be decided (Jozini and Kgatelopele):
The table indicates that the ANC is the biggest loser having lost 78% of the 14 hung council municipalities where a different party is leading compared to 2011.
The above analysis supports the notion that in the 2016 coalitions stakes the ANC was the biggest loser, the DA the biggest winner but that the EFF is the party that still holds the key in many of these municipalities.
Managing the coalitions in the 27 municipalities is going to require extraordinary wisdom, diplomacy and patience given the narrow majority margins in most of these municipalities and the fact that the leading coalitions in 10 of these municipalities will require the ongoing support of the EFF -> Difficulties of forming and maintaining coalitions
The attached PDF document summarises the coalition outcomes in all of the 27 hung local municipalities and were used to conduct the analysis set out in this post.