Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s Death: Time to Rediscover our Common History

The death of apartheid stalwart, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, laid bare the South African psyche and how much still must be done to heal the wounds of our troubled past. Troubled as it is, our past however presents at the same time, in my view, the ideal vehicle to build social cohesion that our society so clearly lacks.

https://www.news24.com/Columnists/Ralph_Mathekga/winnies-funeral-a-missed-opportunity-20180416 

Ralph Mathekga is a Fellow at the SARChI Chair: African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg and in the above article Winnie’s funeral a missed opportunity he writes as follows:

“If there is any subject that brings out the differences in people, it has to be history.

Most conflicts in society are not about how to shape the future, but how to read the past and apportion responsibility. Religious conflicts that divide societies and have resulted in sustained conflicts such as the one we see in the Middle East are based on a historical account of the past. In this instance, religious convictions are largely a historical account of how our ancestors adopted religion and spirituality in their struggle for self-determination and survival in a hostile world characterised by good and evil.

Modern religious convictions are often a choice regarding which historical account of past events you believe, and the corresponding beliefs closely reflect one’s historical ancestry.

History is a window through which to look into the future. A nation that has a sense of a shared history, tend to develop a sense of common destiny. South Africans have conflicting versions of history. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s death has laid bare the fact that we do not agree on a common version of history for this country. In fact, the history of South Africa relating to the apartheid years and the struggle against the regime remains the most contested history and source of major differences in the country. 

Instead of using Mama Winnie’s passing as a moment to forge a common reflection on the glorious history of this country, including the courageous anti-apartheid struggle, South Africans resorted to desecrating that history by casting aspersions on the struggle role played by the giants such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.”

His words rings so true and that goes for White people’s understanding of the history and struggle of Black people but also just as much for Black people’s understanding of the history and struggle of White people.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lets-stray-back-our-historic-laagers-solly-moeng/?published=t

In response to the above article Let’s not stray back in our historical laagers, I wrote as follows recently on Facebook when the author, Solly Moeng, asked for input on the question “How do we recover ourselves as a united, diverse nation, hold hands again and build together for a better shared future?”:

“…………The second aspect that will in my view make a tremendous difference is not to vilify the history of especially the Afrikaner as if it was all just bad as opposed to the all righteous struggle waged by mainly Black people. Fact is our troubled history is not always as clear cut as black vs white or good vs bad. It’s much more nuanced than that and it takes careful consideration to arrive at a fair, balanced and objective view.

The Afrikaner history for example is full of bad and evil, which we all know of and which will be to our eternal shame, but it’s just as much filled with struggle and patriotism. Struggle in overcoming prejudice by the British who saw Afrikaans speaking people as lesser human beings in the 1800’s, struggle in overcoming poverty when in the 1930’s one in three Afrikaner households were living in abject poverty, struggle in overcoming the trauma of losing thousands of men, women and children during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War in the cruelest circumstance etc. Patriotism in fighting for and securing South Africa’s independence in 1961 from British colonial rule, patriotism in realising the error of our ways and breaking from South Africa’s past of segregation by having the courage to vote overwhelmingly yes in the 1992 referendum for change etc.

Fact is we have a common history rather than an White/Afrikaans or Black/Zulu/Xhosa history and if we celebrate it together, and in the right way, it has the potential to unite us as a country, troubled as it may be. Just a small example to illustrate this – when I worked at one of the big 5 auditing firms, I had a consultant working with me Zwile Zulu, who comes from a Zulu Royal background. We one day discussed our common history and realized that in February 1838 his forefathers killed one of my 8th distant cousins, Stephanus Johannes van Vuuren, together with Piet Retief and all his other men. I indicated that five of my forefathers exacted revenge on Dingane in December 1838 for this at the battle of Bloedriver and probably in doing so killed some of his forefathers. Rather than indulging in a debate about who was right or who was wrong back in 1838, we rejoiced the fact that somewhere back in our history our forefather’s tracks did cross, bonding the two of us inexplicably and irretrievably together, Black and White. Does the same not apply to all who are citizens of this country?”

I must admit that I had mix feelings about the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. I worked in the townships of the then Witwatersrand and also the Munsieville township in the 1980’s where on 13 April 1986 (ironically a day before the date she would be buried exactly 32 years later) she said her by now infamous words “… Together hand-in-hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country….”. A few days after her speech a township resident, Doctor Nakale Kgogome, suspected to be a police informer was dragged into an open area in Munsieville where he was set alight with a gasoline filled tyre around his neck. He died of his horrific injuries in hospital and this tragic event left an indelible mark on my consciousness.

Given the aforementioned, it was difficult for me personally to deal with the fawning adulation bestowed on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela following her death. At the same many so-called expose’s, documentaries and interviews came to the fore that added nothing new that was not already in the public domain, but which many and especially those in the EFF fold grabbed onto with their life, to erroneously show that Winnie’s has been misrepresented and that their was a conspiracy to defraud her legacy or even worse that she has been sold out by her comrades. This was a crude attempt at revisionist rewriting of history that went as far as to taint the role played by people such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu as highlighted by  Ralph Mathekga above, and even the reputation of of three respected journalists, Thandeka Gqubule, Anton Harber and Nomavenda Mathiane was called into question (in a rather weak apology the Huffington Post astonishingly said that “they felt the public would understand” and that it was “not making a literal accusation”).

In the end I however had to temper my own personal feelings about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, by appreciating her role in the wider struggle to rid South Africa from Apartheid and what she meant, wrongly or rightly depending on each person’s own perspective, for so many South African’s. I took a lot of personal convincing for me to do so but in the end, just as in the example of me and Zwile Zulu mentioned above, I came to the realization that somewhere in my past, my path and that of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela crossed, and that this bonded the two of us inexplicably and irretrievably together as South Africans with a common history.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2018-04-13-has-truth-become-a-casualty-of-winnies-rejection-of-accountability/ 

As Palesa Morudu, a publisher and writer based in Cape Town wrote in the above article  Has truth become a casualty of Winnie’s rejection of accountability?, I in the end also added my voice to those that prayed “May she rest in peace” and “Let us celebrate the glory of her legacy” but who also said lets at the same time “condemn its horrors”.

As Ralph Mathekga noted above a nation that has a sense of a shared history, tend to develop a sense of a common destiny. My wish is therefore for all South African’s to reconsider our common history, troubled as it may be, and what this history tells us it means to be a South African. That we all at the same time acknowledge the past hurt that we caused one another but also recognize that, at various points in our past people, of all races and backgrounds suffered. That we in doing so take off our lenses of prejudice and hatred, and attempts to score points by selectively quoting history, and that we look one another squarely in the eyes, saying that its our common history that binds us all together,  inexplicably and irretrievably, Black and White.

Postscript 1: I’m busy reading a fascinating book by Harry Booyens “AmaBhulu – The Birth and Death of the Second America”. In it he documents the birth of the Afrikaner nation, its struggles to find a home it can call its own in Africa just to be robbed of it every time by the British imperialists and the many interactions my forefathers had with the various African tribes. The book brings vividly to life the fact that many times in our troubled past the Afrikaner and the African tribes worked together for the common good and in many instances exchanged land for goods or assistance rendered which goes against the prevailing narrative the Whites always stole the land. I will therefore in a few posts to follow focus on these aspects namely the cooperation between Afrikaner and Black people throughout our history, the history of land occupation in Southern Africa and also highlight the extent to which the Afrikaner suffered under British imperialism and domination.

Postscript 2: I quoted above the second aspect that I thought would assist to recover ourselves as a united, diverse nation,  and to hold hands again and build together for a better shared future. The first aspect that I thought would make a big difference are the following as I worded it in my Facebook post:

“The first thing that will in my view make a tremendous contribution is to accept all South Africans as rightful citizens of our beautiful country and for our government to be unequivocal about it in all their messaging. For as long as the word settler or colonialist is being branded around, it will make a lot of people, including me, feel that we are not welcome in the country of our birth and make us to doubt the sincerity of our fellow South African’s. These utterances creates unnecessary breathing space for racists to come to the fore and spew hate.”

 

Rian Malan and the prevailing narrative of White people dispossessing Black people and committing genocide

In this day and age, history as we know it are continually being questioned and revisited, which I don’t have a problem with, so as long as its backed by new historical evidence and not just to simply support a new prevailing political narrative. I think that in the debate about expropriation without compensation we all should also guard against a one-sided historical view of dispossession of land and any violence that accompanied it, especially if it says that it was only group A who did it to group B without critically questioning it.

I wrote about the same aspect in my recent critique of Parliaments motion on expropriation without compensation which can be read here:

https://twosidestoeverything.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/parliaments-motion-on-land-expropriation-with-compensation-a-critique-highlighting-some-historical-fallacies-inaccuracies-dubious-facts-based-on-political-expediency-and-posing-some-pertinent/

It might be an uncomfortable truth, but fact is that not only Black people were the victims of land dispossession in our recent past, White people also suffered dispossession.  Also, the perpetrators of dispossession were not exclusively White people, but Black people also dispossessed their fellow Blacks.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2018-03-09-land-restitution-demands-driven-by-the-pain-of-the-colonial-wound/

The above article Land-restitution demands driven by the pain of the ‘colonial wound’ highlights but one of the instances in which the White community, in this instance the Afrikaner, was disposed in a violent way from their farms –

“A version of this model was used to instigate a much more calamitous event, the Anglo-Boer War. It ended in by far the largest and most intense land grab in SA’s history (my emphasis), through martial law.

“Rebel” Boer farms were seized, and their inhabitants sent to the century’s first concentration camps, where 40,000 people of all races died. In an orgy of slaughter as part of a scorched-earth campaign decried in the British parliament as using the “methods of barbarism”, livestock and improvements were destroyed.”

Another example is the Boer Republic of Natalia with its capital Pietermaritzburg. The area was ceded by the Zulu king Dingane to Piet Retief and his followers in 1838 but the British simply annexed the territory in 1843, dispossessing the Boer citizens, to establish the Colony of Natal.

NOTE – although Dingane and three witnesses on both sides signed the document, there is some contestation if Dingane fully understood what he did by signing the treaty with the Voortrekkers before he killed Retief’s whole party, but fact remains he signed a document giving ownership of some land to the Voortrekkers. Others questions the authenticity of the treaty, but as set out in the following article The Retief Massacre of 6 February 1838 revisited there is strong evidence that on 4 February 1838 both Dingane and Retief signed a written deed of land transfer.

http://www.scielo.org.za/pdf/hist/v56n2/v56n2a07.pdf

Such land treaties between Black and White in our history are not uncommon and in the article Wit mense het grond wettig bekom a number of other examples are cited:

https://maroelamedia.co.za/debat/meningsvormers/wit-mense-het-grond-wel-wettig-bekom/ 

“One of the examples of how the Voortrekkers acquired land with legal agreements is the agreement entered into with the Swazi king in 1846. The area between the Olifants and Crocodile Rivers was given to the Trekkers in exchange for cattle. In 1855 a similar agreement was entered into for the Lydenburg district. In the same year, the Swazi king also donated the area along the Pongola River to be added to the Voortrekkers new republic. The Swazi king’s goal was to create a buffer zone against attacks by the Zulu. There are also other examples of similarities, which refute the myth that the Voortrekkers have simply stolen ground on a large scale (freely translated from Afrikaans).”

During Apartheid many White farmers were dispossessed of their property by the National Party government in their attempt to consolidate the territories of the former homelands.

Coming to Black people dispossessing Black people the best and well-known example is the Mfecane (isiZulu) also known by the Sesotho name Difaqane or Lifaqane (all meaning “crushing, scattering, forced dispersal, forced migration”. This was a period of widespread chaos and warfare among indigenous Black communities in Southern Africa during the period between 1815 and about 1840 that did not just displace many communities and dispossessed them from their ancestral land, but led to the deaths of hundred of thousands of people

NOTE – Some historians questioned, not that the Mfecane happened, but what caused it, for example Professor Cobbling who argues that apartheid historians had mischaracterised the Mfecane as a period of internally induced black-on-black destruction rather than that the roots of the conflicts be found exclusively in the labour needs of the Portuguese slave traders operating out of Delagoa Bay, in modern-day Mozambique. Critics assert that revisionist theories such as Cobbing’s placed too much weight on environmental factors and ignored the key roles played by dynamic human agents such as the Zulu King Shaka. The historian Elizabeth Eldredge challenged Cobbing’s thesis on the grounds that there is scant evidence of the resumption of the Portuguese slave trade out of Delagoa Bay before 1823, a finding that undermines Cobbing’s thesis that Shaka’s early military activities were a response to slave raids.

Irrespective of its underlying causes, the fact remains that during the Mfecane, Black people dispossessed fellow Blacks of land through force.

The following piece Dear Mr. Malema brilliantly written by Rian Malan, highlights the same issue and I think its important to reflect on what he is saying. I came across it by coincidence again today as the article was written in 2016 already by Malan and in response to Juluis Malema’s infamous words said at the time and quoted below:

“We are here unashamedly to disturb the white man’s peace. Because we have never known peace. We, the rightful owners, our peace was disturbed by white man’s arrival here. They committed a black genocide (my emphasis). They killed our people during land dispossession. Today, we are told don’t disturb them, even when they disturbed our peace. They found peaceful Africans here. They killed them! They slaughtered them, like animals! We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now…. But 1994 means NOTHING without the land! Victory will only be victory if the land is restored in the hands of rightful owners. And rightful owners unashamedly is black people. This is our continent, it belongs to us.”

http://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/dear-mr-malema

With regards to Black genocide committed by White people, Malan has the following to say:

“……You keep saying “genocide.” I’m not sure that’s the right term. In the 1980s, historians Leonard Thompson and Howard Lamar published a comparative study of the North American and South African frontiers. Someone stole my copy of that book and the precise details are fading, but it claims there were something like ten million “Red Indians” when the American frontier opened circa 1780, and only 250,000 left a century later. That’s genocide.

In SA, the numbers tell a different story. According to Thompson et al, there were around two million Africans when our frontier opened, also in 1780, and roughly double that number when it closed in 1880. Since then, the African population has grown at a healthy rate, apartheid notwithstanding. That’s why whites are now so heavily outnumbered, and why if you say, surrender your land, I have not much choice.”

I have copied the full contents of Malan’s article below:

“Dear Mr Malema:

I am writing in response to your recent remarks calling for whites to return the land to its rightful owners, failing which you may have to slaughter us. I think it’s good that you have put this issue under the spotlight, and I would like to help resolve it. 

I personally had nothing to do with what the EFF sees as the “mass butcher/slaughter of black people” by white land thieves in the colonial era. On the other hand, I am an Afrikaner with capitalist inclinations, so I am clearly guilty by association in your eyes. Hey, that’s all right by me. I’m not here to argue. I am here to find a solution, and to do that, it’s necessary for me to put my own land on the table and discuss what’s to be done with it.

This land (about 1200 square metres) is located in Emmarentia, Johannesburg, a good place to ponder our history because it is located at the foot of the Melville Koppies, where archeologists have unearthed a great deal of evidence about previous owners. Their findings can be summarized as follows:

1)  Around 250,000 years ago, Emmarentia was inhabited by our hominid ancestors. These creatures appear to have died out.

2)  Around 100,000 years ago, the first humans made their appearance. Unfortunately, I don’t know their names and their descendants have proved untraceable.

3)  Some twenty thousand years ago, the so-called San or Bushmen took up residence in a cave in the kloof near where Beyers Naude Drive cuts through the Koppies. Among the artefacts they left behind is a Stone Age device for making arrowheads. The whereabouts of their descendants is unknown.

4)  Around five hundred years ago, the first Tswana showed up. These were sophisticated people who used Iron Age furnaces to work minerals mined nearby. They also owned sheep and cattle and grew millet and sorghum along the banks of the stream which flows past my house.

On its face these Tswana would appear to be the only previous owners whose descendants are still living in the area, so in theory I should give my land to them. But when you look closely at the Tswana, a complicated picture emerges.

In the beginning, around 1700, almost all Tswana fell under the authority of the Hurutshe, a powerful tribe that exacted tribute from lesser Tswana chiefs and kept them in line.

Around 1750, things began to change. Nobody knows exactly why, but one suspected cause is the mealie, which arrived here around that time. Mealies boosted crop yields. More food led to population growth, which led to intensified competition for scarce resources. The Hurutshe hegemony was challenged and overthrown. Without proper supervision, minor chieftains started tooling up and making war on one another. The Fokeng attacked the Kgatla. Kgatla attacked the Po. Pedi fought the Kwena, and so on. According to the anthropologist Isaac Schapera, there were 26 civil wars in the decades prior  to 1820.

In response, Tswana kingdoms became increasingly militarised and autocratic, which is to say, they moved from level 3 societies, which were chilled, to levels 4 and 5, where kings and chiefs practiced an early form of capitalism, extracting labour and tribute from weaker vassals. Since the vassals did not necessarily like this, the more powerful Tswana chiefs began to concentrate their people in large towns, usually sited on easily defensible hilltops and surrounded by stone walls.

This did not help much. Analysis of Tswana praise poems and oral histories indicates that being a chief in Emmarentia and surrounds was a very dangerous occupation between 1700 and 1820. Of 71 chiefs mentioned in oral traditions, only 48 percent died in their beds. The rest were assassinated or killed in battle.

As a result of these factors it has proved difficult to establish exactly which Tswana grouping owned my land during this period of violence and confusion. Most likely, ownership changed several times, and at some point it was taken over by the Po, a Nguni people who controlled the Witwatersrand from a headquarters located near the Gillooly’s freeway interchange. Have you ever heard of these people? Ja, me neither, but don’t worry, because they were soon swept away by the Mfecane.

Contrary to popular belief, it seems the Mfecane was not really caused by Shaka Zulu. According to my readings, that man’s role has been exaggerated by Inkatha supporters who love to depict Shaka as a black Napoleon who single-handedly invented the short stabbing spear and the horns-and-chest battle formation, thereby changing history. 

More recent research holds that Shaka was just one of many southern African kings who more or less simultaneously embarked on a program of militarisation and nation building, thus leaping from level three to level five and in the process destabilizing their neighbours.

Shaka’s neighbours included the Hlubi, the Ngwane and the Swazi. After Shaka came to power around 1818, these people decided it would be wise to move onto the highveld to get away from him. But the nearest parts of the highveld were already occupied by the Phuting and Hlakwana, who lost their crops and cattle to the invaders and had to flee westward, into territories controlled by various Tswana entities. This resulted in a chain reaction that rolled on for years, turning the highveld into a zone of “persistent raiding and displacement” that shattered African social structures and turned many people into refugees.

Around 1824, Mzilikazi and the Ndebele arrived on the scene, also fleeing the Zulus. Mzilikazi was by far the most efficient of the level-five autocrats. He ate up all the tribes in his path, usually killing males and incorporating women and children into his own ranks. One exception to this was the Po, who reportedly saved themselves by submitting to Mzilikazi and joining his cause as “allies or slaves.”

One therefore assumes that the Po moved with Mzilikazi to Rustenburg district, where the Ndebele made their capital. The king lived in the very centre of the new empire, surrounded by loyal Ndebele commoners and swathes of pasture for the royal cattle. Beyond the pasture was a ring of tribute-paying vassal chiefs, and beyond them lay the march – a vast area that had been cleared of all human inhabitants. Mzilikazi trusted no-one, and wanted to make sure he could see his enemies coming.

I can’t be 100 percent sure, but I suspect Emmarentia was part of this so-called march. Here’s why. In 1836, an aristocratic British sportsman named Robert Cornwallis-Harris came this way to hunt big game. When he reached a range of hills which could have been the Witwatersrand he began to see the ruins of “extensive villages,” deserted save for a handful of “half-starved persons” hiding in the bushes. According to Cornwallis-Harris, the abandoned villages were strewn with broken earthen vessels, fragments of ostrich shell and game skins. And that’s almost exactly what archeologists find when they dig trenches on the koppie above my house.

Against this backdrop, your remarks about “peaceful Africans” strike me as somewhat odd. The last person to make such an argument was Joe Slovo, whose seminal “Colonialism of a Special Type” essay was riddled with black holes and omissions intended to present whites in the worst possible light. That’s because Slovo was desperate to ingratiate himself with black people and become your leader, an ambition which led directly to what you see as the great sellout of 1994. You surely know better than to trust a white man, sir.

But anyway, our story has just begun. The first white settlers showed up in Emmarentia a few months after the hunter Cornwallis-Harris. You seem to imagine these Voortrekkers as an army of genocidaires using guns and horses to drive peaceful Africans towards extinction. Not so. Mzilikazi opened the hostilities, massacring a party of Trekkers near the Vaal River and then stripping the Boers of all their livestock at Vegkop. At this point, the Tswana who’d previously dominated the area came out of hiding and offered their support to the Boers, which led to Mzilikazi’s defeat at the hands of multi-racial DA-style army at the battle of Mosega.

In the aftermath, Mzilikazi fled northwards across the Limpopo, and the Boers claimed “his” land as their own. The suburb where I live became the farm Braamfontein, property of the Bezuidenhout family. These were my people, but let me be the first to admit that they did not behave like civilized white liberals.

Instead, they emulated the African kings who came before them, exacting tribute (especially in labour) from subject chiefs and periodically raiding more distant neighbours for cattle and captives. Some of those captives, especially the children, became inboekelinge, or indentured servants, working on Boer farms for nothing until they were 25.

Let’s face it — this was a form of slavery, and we must answer for it. But the Fokeng and the Kgatla must answer too, because they were our partners in crime, constantly joining the Boers in “mutually beneficial” raids on surrounding tribes. As a result, the Kgatla (who lived around Sun City) and Fokeng (near Hartebeestpoort) became rich and powerful. According to historian Fred Morton, Kgatla chief Khamanyane (who ruled from 1853 to 1875) acquired an astonishing fortune in wives (43) and cattle, while many of his subjects “attained higher living standards than most Boers.”

Which is not to say that the Boers and their Tswana allies had it all their own way. On the contrary: the Boers were weak, and existed in a state of uneasy equilibrium with surrounding African principalities. Gert Oosthuizen, baas of the farm where I now live, would have been called out on kommando at least 14 times in his first thirty-odd years on the Highveld, but seldom returned home a victor.

Most Boer military campaigns ended in stalemate, and they were defeated on at least three occasions — by the Pedi in 1852, the Sotho in 1858, and the Venda in 1861. By 1867, they were under such pressure that they had to abandon the Soutpansberg, leaving behind a few stragglers who survived by paying tribute to their conquerors in the African way.

After the discovery of diamonds, Africans began to acquire guns and push back even harder. In 1870, the Boers abandoned Potgietersrus. In 1871, they lost another war against the Pedi. By 1877, they seemed to be in an extremely precarious position, which is why the British stepped in to annex the Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek.

Beyond this point, your understanding of history becomes more tenable.  Professional soldiers sent by Queen Victoria crushed the Zulu and Pedi with considerable slaughter, as they’d previously crushed the Xhosa and were soon to crush the Boers. Black Africans wound up losing about two thirds of the land they’d held before 1652, and for this whites must answer. Then again, the British army had African auxiliaries in all its campaigns, so they must answer too.

But for what exactly? You keep saying “genocide.” I’m not sure that’s the right term. In the 1980s, historians Leonard Thompson and Howard Lamar published a comparative study of the North American and South African frontiers. Someone stole my copy of that book and the precise details are fading, but it claims there were something like ten million “Red Indians” when the American frontier opened circa 1780, and only 250,000 left a century later. That’s genocide.

In SA, the numbers tell a different story. According to Thompson et al, there were around two million Africans when our frontier opened, also in 1780, and roughly double that number when it closed in 1880. Since then, the African population has grown at a healthy rate, apartheid notwithstanding. That’s why whites are now so heavily outnumbered, and why if you say, surrender your land, I have not much choice.

But surrender it to whom? If we take the arrival of the first white settlers in 1836 as our point of departure, I should give my house to the descendants of Mzilikazi. But that won’t go down with the Tswana, who remember Mzilikazi as a bloody tyrant who robbed them of their birthright.

The Po might rematerialize and make a claim, and then there’s the Bushman to think about.  They were here long before anyone else, but vanished in the 1820s. Perhaps they also ran for their lives when they saw Mzilikazi coming, and took refuge in the Kalahari.

If so, this was a frying-pan-into-fire move, because the Tswana out there were short of labour, and they turned Bushmen and other vassal races (the Kgalagadi and Yei) into slaves who were exchanged for goods, passed on as heritable property and “controlled with startling brutality” by their masters. According to historian Barry Morton, slave herdsmen were “observed to live in an indescribable state of general squalor.” Death from malnutrition was “not uncommon,” and slaves were “punished and occasionally killed…for losing a single animal.”

According to Morton, evidence to back such claims lay hidden in plain sight in the archives, ignored for decades by researchers swarming into the Kalahari to study one of the world’s last hunter-gatherer populations. I can only surmise the researchers were white liberals who didn’t want to spoil the plot, which holds that it was the Boers who caused all the trouble in our history until they were overthrown by the saintly Mandela, thus giving birth to the Rainbow Nation.

Judging by your speeches, you detest white liberals even more than I do, which is why I have drawn all these complications to your attention. The fact of the matter, sir, is that all our ancestors have blood on our hands. More blood on mine than yours, at least at this point, but still: the only innocents in this story are the Bushman.

They were harmless level one people, with no chiefs and no material ambitions. Whites hunted them like wild animals, but your people were little better. The first British official to arrive at the royal court of the Xhosa (Sir John Barrow, c 1798) was told by King Hintsa, “My people exist in a state of perpetual warfare with the Bushmen.” Perhaps this helps us understand why the north-eastern portion of this country is littered with the relics of Bushmen who vanished long before white settlers came.

And so we come finally to the point of this letter. The victims and villains of history are beyond my reach, but I am not without conscience. I am sorry about all the Zulu who perished at the hands of Lord Chelmsford in 1879, and the Shona and Ndebele slaughtered by Rhodes’ Gatling guns. But I am particularly sorry about the Bushmen who used to live in the kloof above my house. They suffered greatly at the hands of people like us, and their claim to being the original and thus “rightful” owners of Emmarentia looks unassailable.

I therefore think it might be best if I share my land with my friend Errol, an Afrikaans-speaking coloured person with at least a bit of Bushman blood in his veins. He’s not black, strictly speaking, but at least he has an Afro. And his apartheid victim credentials are impeccable.

But before I go ahead, I would like to make sure this accords with the fast-track land reform scheme you envisage. If I do the right thing by Errol, will my life be spared?

Your swift reply awaited.

Rian Malan”

In conclusion I wish to state that I fully support the principle of land reform and that even though considerable progress has been made in this regard the current patterns of land ownership is still unsustainable. I also fully support the process of land restitution aimed at people and communities who had been dispossessed of land after 19 June 1913 as a result of racially discriminatory laws or practices the right to restitution of that property or to fair compensation.

I do however feel strongly that the processes going forward should not be based purely on emotion or incomplete or unreliable land audits and findings or the loose or one-sided interpretation of history or be based on historical facts that are simply not true or on double standards especially if it pits Black versus White rather than focussing on the end goal – giving all South Africans access to land for productive and wealth generation purposes.

Analysis of the Metsimaholo 2017 by-election results and the coalition prospects in this Free State Municipality

INTRODUCTION

Following the 2016 local elections, South Africa was gripped with coalition fever, with 27 municipalities having hung councils where no one political party has more than 50% of the allocated seats.

Forming coalitions is an exercise in real politics ( politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises) and its therefore dangerous to predict the outcome of any coalition negotiations beforehand. Relying on what is speculated in the mainstream media is especially fraught with danger as evidenced in this article looking at what transpired in 2006 in Cape Town when parties were also faced with a hung council scenario Anatomy of a coalition coup: Are there lessons ahead of the August election?

In this blog post I will look at the municipal by-election that took place in the Metsimaholo  Municipality in the Free State on 29 November 2017, analyse the result and compare it with the 2016 local government elections that took place on 3 August 2016 and indicate what the most likely coalition government would be seeing that the no party again received 50 %+ of the allocated seats.

BACKGROUND

  • Total seats: 42
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 22
  • Seat allocation: ANC 19, DA 12, EFF 8, MCA 2, FF+ 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 3 seats for a majority and the DA 10
  • Possible coalitions available at the time: The ANC could have partnered with the DA or EFF individually or together with the two smaller parties or just with the MCA (the Metsimaholo Community Association, a local party that might hold the balance of power) and FF+ who together holds 3 seats. The DA could have formed a coalition with the ANC or EFF but in the latter instance they will require the support of the one or both of the smaller parties.

COALITION FORMED AFTER THE 2016 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION

The Democratic Alliance (DA) formed a coalition in the end with the Metsimaholo Community Association (MCA) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), supported by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), to govern the municipality. The MCA’s Sello Hlasa was elected mayor, while Arnold du Ploy and Linda Radebe of the DA were elected Speaker and Council Whip respectively.

COALITION COLLAPSED IN JULY 2017

The municipal council failed to adopt a budget for the 2017/18 financial year because of disagreements between the coalition members. As a result the council was dissolved in July 2017 and an administrator appointed by the provincial government.

For an overview of what went wrong with the DA, EFF, FF+ and MCA coalition read the following two articles:


Dissolving of council welcomed by DA

RUN-UP TO THE 2017 BY-ELECTION

The run-up to the by-election was dominated by the news that the SAPC decided to field 42 candidates to contest the Metsimaholo by-election, a turning point for the party in that it for the first time contested elections alone without its alliance partner, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

SACP fields 42 candidates in historic first solo by-election

SACP contesting Free State by-election ‘regrettable’, says ANC

SACP ‘Hasty’ Regarding Metsimaholo By-Elections – Cosatu

The SACP has the ANC over a barrel in Metsimaholo municipality

Metsimaholo by-elections an experiment to dislodge the ANC

Municipality up for grabs

Will the Metsimaholo by-elections bring relief to its beleaguered residents?

By-Election preview: All eyes on the big contest in Metsimaholo, Free State

ELECTION DAY – 29 NOVEMBER 2017

Despite claims of irregularities and vote rigging in the Metsimaholo Municipality by-elections, the Local Government Minister Des Van Rooyen who was overseeing the process felt that all went well on election day –

Minister van Rooyen happy with Metsimaholo by-election

Earlier it was reported that Minister van Rooyen left Metsimaholo after EFF supporters allegedly blocked him from entering a polling station –

Van Rooyen leaves ‘voluntarily’ after EFF supporters allegedly block him in Metsimaholo

The SACP claimed that there was irregularities in the voting process –

SACP cries foul over Metsimaholo by-election voting process

The ANC called for an investigation into allegations of vote rigging in Metsimaholo –

ANC calls for an investigation into the allegations of vote rigging in Metsimaholo

2017 METSIMAHOLO BY-ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

Following the counting of the votes the IEC announced the Metsimaholo election results late on Friday 3 December 2017:

IEC releases Metsimaholo by-election results

Mets 1

Mets 2

The by-election results is depicted in the pictures above and summarised in the table below comparing it to the 2016 and 2011 local government election results:

Political Party

2011 % Votes

2016 % Votes

% Shifts 2011 to 2016

2017 % Votes

% Shifts 2016 to 2017

ANC

63.04 %

45.08 % – 17.96 % 30.24 %

– 14.84 %

DA

28.97 %

35.22 % + 6.25 % 24.36 %

– 10,86 %

EFF Did not participate

17.87 %

+ 17.87 % 17.47 %

– 0.40 %

SAPC Did not participate

n/a

Did not participate

7.58 %

+ 7.58 %

Of the smaller parties the FF+ increased its percentage of the vote from 2.14% to 3.02%, the MCA’s percentage dropped from 4.91% to 1.48% whilst the support for COPE and the ACDP remained fairly constant. The Matatiele-based AIC party had an impressive foray into Metsimaholo. They won a PR seat and 2.11% of the vote.

FINAL ALLOCATION OF THE AVAILABLE 42 SEATS

Final seat allocation based on the by-election result were as follows:

  • ANC 16 (three less than in 2016),
  • DA 11 (one less than in 2016),
  • EFF 8 (sames as in 2016),
  • SACP 3 (did not participate in 2016),
  • MCA 1 (one less than in 2016),
  • FF+ 1 (same as in 2016),
  • AIC 1 (did not participate in this municipality in the 2016 elections),
  • F4SD 1 (did not participate in this municipality in the 2016 elections).

REACTION TO AND ANALYSIS OF THE 2017 BY-ELECTION OUTCOME

The following articles sets out some of the reactions to the outcome of the 2017 by-election in Metsimaholo:

Metsimaholo hangs in limbo as by-elections has no outright winner

‘Really massive collapse’ in ANC support in Free State by-election

ANC support down in Metsimaholo, SACP pick up 3 seats – IEC

DA Metsimaholo has voted for a new beginning – Patricia Kopane

Metsimaholo’s elections send strong signal – SACP

An analysis of by-election result in Metsimaholo indicates that:

  1. The ANC is continuing to loose voter support at an alarming rate (since the 2011 local government elections to the latest 2017 by-election their support in Metsimaholo dropped by a staggering 32%). The majority of their losses can be ascribed to voters voting for the EFF in 2016 and now again in 2017 and to the SACP in 2017. They also lost votes to other parties such as the DA and other smaller parties but up to 25% of their losses are the result of voter support gained at their expense by the EFF and SACP. This indicates how critical the SACP is for the ANC continued power base and the party will have to put all its energy into mending the fences with their alliance partner before the 2019 general election.
  2. The by-election result also confirmed the trend that the ANC’s support base is more robust in rural areas than suburban or urban areas as they did better in more rural based wards of Metsimaholo compared to those in the towns. The ANC will have to somehow regain the trust of the urban voters if it wants to have any hope of governing again nationally after the 2019 general election.
  3. The DA percentage of the votes in 2017 compared to 2017 dropped by nearly some 11%. While the party was propelled by high turnout in the suburbs in 2016, turnout this time round was sharply down in vote-rich areas for the DA, averaging at about 25% less than 2016. There was lower turnout in the ANC-held wards as well, but the lower turnout was not as pronounced.
  4. It also seems as if many former white DA voters in Metsimaholo this time around voted for the FF+ which indicates some extent of disillusionment with DA’s direction under Mmusi Maimane with many feeling that the DA has become nothing else than an ANC light version. This is a trend that the DA will have to counter if it wants to build on its election gains of previous national and local government elections.
  5. The DA also did not have enough growth in the townships of Metsimaholo to mask their decreasing returns in the suburbs, and ultimately increase their representation on the council. The DA will have to do better in the townships in 2019 it wants to build on its election gains of previous national and local government elections.
  6. The EFF made great strides in some township wards but their growth was not uniform, and in some ANC-held Metsimaholo wards their share of the vote went down. They ended up where they began with eight seats. The EFF did not manage to increase their percentage of the overall vote in the 2017 election compared to that of 2016 in the end, leading to questions as to whether the party is about to reach a ceiling of voter support?
  7. The SACP had a solid showing in their first electoral foray and was allocated 3 PR seats on the Metsimaholo Council. They came very close to also winning Ward 3 (Refengkgotso Deneysville), where the ANC beat them by 34 votes, getting 35% of the vote compared to their 34%. The SACP was able to get over 10% of the vote in six of the 16 ANC held wards. Will the SACP continue contesting elections or put that strategy on hold if their preferred candidate wins the presidential race at the ANC conference in a few weeks’ time?
  8. Despite the FF+’s solid growth on election day, they still only have one seat on Council. They were able to hurt the DA, but were not able to attract enough DA voters to get an additional PR seat.
  9. As indicated earlier the AIC had a an impressive foray into Metsimaholo. They won a PR seat and will be an ally for the ANC if they have any chance of ruling in Metsimaholo.
  10. The MCA ended up holding onto one of their two seats but will struggle to be the factor they were in Metsimaholo after the 2016 election.
  11. The F4SD did well to gain one seat following the election.
  12. The number of political parties represented on the Metsimaholo Council increased from only 5 in 2016 to 8 in 2017. I would not say that this is any indication that in future voters will be willing to vote in large numbers for smaller parties as in my view this is a trend typically only found in local government elections.

2017 POSSIBLE COALITION SCENARIOS IN METSIMAHOLO

  • Seats required for overall majority = 22.
  • Scenario: The ANC requires 6 seats to form a majority and the DA 11.
  • Possible coalitions for the ANC: The ANC could partner with the DA or EFF individually or together with the other smaller parties to form a coalition government. Such a coalition with either the DA or EFF would however be highly unlikely and to govern without the DA or EFF they will have to secure the support of the SACP and three of the four smaller parties namely the FF+, AIC, MCA or F4SD who each gained 1 seat.
  • Possible coalitions for the DA: The DA could form a coalition with the ANC or EFF but in the instance of the EFF they will require the support of either the SACP or three of the four smaller parties namely the FF+, AIC, MCA or F4SD who each gained 1 seat.

The following article sets out the three possible coalition scenarios:

By-Election: Metsimaholo – with no outright winner and entry of SACP, prepare for strange bedfellows

The three possible coalition scenarios are as follows:

“Scenario 1: DA (11) + EFF (8) + VF+ (1) + MCA (1) + F4SD (1) 22/42

The most likely scenario would see the DA returning the favour to the EFF. This week the EFF lent their votes to the DA to help defeat motions of no confidence against the respective mayors of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay. The two parties together would have 19 out of the 22 votes needed to form a coalition which could govern in Metsimaholo. The most palatable party for both to work with would be the F4SD. Both parties were willing to work with the F4SD to rule in Rustenburg in North West. The F4SD was formed by aggrieved ANC members and they are more likely to work the opposition then the ANC. The opposition would need another two votes. The VF+ are not going to work with the ANC. The question is whether the EFF would want them in a coalition, and/or whether their supporters would tolerate them sitting with the EFF (and potentially the SACP). The MCA supported the opposition after the 2016 election. While the party was split, the leader who worked with the ANC is no longer in the party, and it is more plausible to expect them to work with the opposition again. So, the EFF and the DA have a realistic path to the needed 22/42 seats. The elephant in the room is the SACP and their valuable three seats.”

“Scenario 2: ANC (16)+SACP (3) + AIC (1) + MCA (1)-21/42 Hung Council.

The ANC knows that the first party to join them in a coalition in Metsimaholo would not be their tripartite alliance partner, the SACP, but the AIC. The ANC (16) + AIC (1) would leave the ANC five short of the magical number of 22. Let’s assume that Gwede Mantashe can broker a deal between the ANC and the SACP, and even offer the SACP the mayoral chain – that would still only take the ANC coalition to 20. They would be two short. The MCA had mixed feelings last time, and maybe the ANC could persuade them again. We would now be in hung council territory: 21. Unless the ANC offered the F4SD some rich pickings in Rustenburg, where they could offer them a place in the coalition, it is unlikely for the F4SD to work with the ANC. We know that the DA, the EFF and the VF+ will not work with the ANC. Thus it is more plausible that the ANC will not be governing in Metsimaholo.”

“Scenario 3: DA (11) + EFF (8) + SACP (3)

Ironically, a scenario which would be most stable numerically but the least stable ideologically would be a coalition with the DA (11) EFF (8) and the SACP (3) which would give them 22 seats. The DA would have to resign itself to either an EFF or an SACP mayor. The coalition could count on support from the F4SD, VF+ and possibly the MCA on policies which would suit the smaller parties, but at the same time they would not be held ransom by the smaller parties. The DA would be reluctant passengers here, but no scenario is ideal for them. Neither scenario 2 nor 3 is ideal for the SACP, and of course, scenarios 1 and 3 are not ideal for the EFF. Strange bedfellows will be holding hands in Metsimaholo.”

CONCLUSION

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has indicated that it is willing to enter into a coalition with the ANC in Metsimaholo municipality in the Free State provided the governing party meets its “conditions” which include a commitment to respect the people, fight corruption and tackle corporate capture.

SACP sets terms for ANC coalition

Where to now for Metsimaholo?

The most likely outcome for me would be a coalition between the DA (11), EFF (8), FF+ (1), MCA (1) and the F4SD (1) giving such a coalition the 22 votes to form a majority government in Metsimaholo. Only time will however tell as coalition politics sometimes makes for strange bedfellows.

 

ANC biggest loser in 2016 coalition outcome, DA biggest winner but EFF still holds the keys

Introduction

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:

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Nquthu in KwaZulu-Natal where the ANC subsequently disputed the outcome of the mayoral election ->  ANC disputes outcome of Nquthu council meeting
  5. 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
  6. 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):

  1. Johannesburg (DA)
  2. Metsimaholo (DA)
  3. Mogale City (DA)
  4. Thabazimbe (DA)
  5. Modimolle/Mookgopong (DA)
  6. Endumeni (IFP)
  7. Abaqulusi (IFP)
  8. Hessequa (DA)
  9. Laingsburg (DA)
  10. 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):

Untitled

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.

Conclusion

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

Summary table

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.

2016 Coalition outcomes for 27 hung municipalities

Poll: Should the DA & EFF form coalitions in some of the key hung municipalities?

Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Picture in KwaZulu-Natal

INTRODUCTION

Following the 2016 local elections, South Africa is gripped with coalition fever, with 27 municipalities having hung councils where no one political party has more than 50% of the allocated seats.

Forming coalitions is an exercise in real politics ( politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises) and its therefore dangerous to predict beforehand the outcome of any coalition negotiations. Relying on what is speculated in the mainstream media is especially fraught with danger as evidenced in this article looking at what transpired in 2006 in Cape Town when parties were also faced with a hung council scenario Anatomy of a coalition coup: Are there lessons ahead of the August election?

In this series of blog posts I nevertheless looked at the possible coalitions in each of the 27 municipalities. In the first post the situation in the Metros was looked at ->  Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Metro Picture and in the second one the situation in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces -> Coalition Fever: An Overview of the picture in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces

In this third post I will look at all the hung councils in KwaZulu-Natal and in the last post possible coalitions in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces.

KWAZULU-NATAL PROVINCE

There are seven municipalities in the province with no outright majority party. The ANC has the most seats in five of these and the IFP in two, but the two parties are quite evenly matched in most of these municipalities.

The ANC needs the EFF as a coalition partner in most of these municipalities, assuming that ANC/IFP or ANC/DA coalitions are not on the table. There is also the chance that some councils may remain hung.

ENDUMENI

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  51.35%  49.53% -1.82 %
 IFP  16.12%  30.52%  +14.40%
 DA  20.54% 15.59% -4.98%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 13
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 7
  • Seat allocation: ANC 6 seats, IFP 4, DA 2, EFF 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short only 1 seat and the IFP 3.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could partner with any one of the IFP, DA or EFF. The IFP will have to partner with the ANC or alternatively both the DA and EFF if it wants to form a majority in this municipality.

CONCLUSION

The outcome will very much depend on which way the IFP will go with one newspaper article suggesting that they plan to cut out the ANC in six KwaZulu-Natal municipalities -> Talks about coalitions continue

NQUTHU

Nquthu Local Municipality is an administrative area in the uMzinyathi District of KwaZulu-Natal. Nquthu is an isiZulu name meaning ‘the back of the head’. Isandlwana, the site of the historic Anglo-Zulu War battle that took place on 22 January 1879, is a well-known tourist destination worldwide. Nquthu Local Municipality is located along the north-eastern boundary of the district. It borders onto the Endumeni, eMadlangeni, AbaQulusi, Ulundi, Nkandla and Msinga Local Municipalities. It is predominantly rural in nature, with expansive rural settlements being one of the major features.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 IFP  40.07%  44.09%  +4.02%
 ANC  40.36%  42.02%  +1.66%
 NFP  16.24% 5.96% -10.28%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 33
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 17
  • Seat allocation:  IFP 15 seats, ANC 14, NFP 2, EFF 1, DA 1
  • Scenario: The IFP short 2 seats and the ANC 3.
  • Possible coalitions: The IFP could partner with the ANC or the NFP or both the EFF and DA. The ANC will have to form a coalition with the IFP or alternatively the NFP with the support of one more additional seat from either the EFF or DA.

CONCLUSION

The Nquthu municipality is the only one the NFP was allowed to contest as it paid the registration fee for this municipality on time -> NFP still has Nquthu, IEC .

Given the past history between the IFP and NFP the most likely coalition is between the IFP and DA/EFF. The NFP formed a coalition with the ANC in this municipality after the 2011 municipal election but this time around both parties will have to woo over either the EFF or DA to work with it.

Read this -> Consolation for NFP in Nquthu

ESCOURT/LOSKOP

Escourt/Loskop Local Municipality is located approximately 165km north-west of Durban and 400km south-east of Johannesburg. The National Road N3 also traverses the municipality on its western portion. The municipality comprises parts of the magisterial districts of Weenen and Estcourt; the informal settlements of Cornfields, Thembalihle and Mimosadale; Loskop and settlements around Weenen. Escourt is the largest commercial centre in the Midlands region. Weenen is a small agricultural town that is starting to emerge as a tourist destination.

This is a newly formed municipality through the amalgamation of the former uMtshezi and Imbabazane Local Municipalities

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  Newly established municipality  49.48%  n/a
 IFP Newly established municipality  39.73%  n/a
 DA Newly established municipality 4.16% n/a

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 46
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 24
  • Seat allocation: ANC 23 seats, IFP 18, DA 2, AL JAMA-AH 2, EFF 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short only 1 seat and the IFP 6.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could form a coalition with the IFP, DA, AL JAMA or EFF. Only they can form a majority coalition in the municipality as the best that the IFP could do is to work with the DA, AL JAMA and the EFF to also hold 23 seats.

CONCLUSION

The possibility exist that this Council may remain hung.

eDUMBE

eDumbe Local Municipality is situated within the Zululand District Municipality in the north-western part of KwaZulu-Natal. The location of the head office is in Paulpietersburg, which is 50km north of Vryheid and 59km south of Mkhondo (previously Piet Retief).

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  27.61%  50.65%  +23.04%
 DA  4.44%  25.26%  +20.82%
 IFP  16.03% 15.57% -0.46%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 16
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 9
  • Seat allocation: ANC 8 seats, DA 5, IFP 3
  • Scenario: The ANC short 1 seat and the DA 4.
  • Possible coalitions: Only the ANC can form a majority coalition in eDumbe by working with the DA or IFP. The best the DA can do is to match the 8 seats of the ANC by working with the IFP.

CONCLUSION

This is one of the municipalities that the NFP controlled after the 2011 municipal elections. In 2016 the possibility exist that the Council may remain hung.

ABAQULUSI

AbaQulusi Local Municipality is a local municipality in Zululand in the KwaZulu-Natal province. It is named after the AbaQulusi, a Zulu clan whose descendants live in the vicinity of Vryheid, Utrecht, eDumbe and eNgoje.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  38.52%  46.22%  +7.7%
 IFP  35.01%  42.14%  +7.13%
 DA  6.65% 7.13% +0.7%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 44
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 23
  • Seat allocation: ANC 21 seats, IFP 19, DA 3, EFF 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 2 seats and the IFP 4.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could work with the IFP or DA. The IFP on the other hand will have to work with both the DA and EFF.

CONCLUSION

The outcome will very much depend on which way the IFP will go with one newspaper article suggesting that they plan to cut out the ANC in six KwaZulu-Natal municipalities -> Talks about coalitions continue

JOZINI

Jozini Local Municipality is located in northern KwaZulu-Natal and borders Swaziland and Mozambique. The Lebombo Mountains and Makhatini Flats provide a diverse and beautiful terrain rich in local resources, including water features and fossil sites. Both Ndumu and Mkuzi Game Reserves can be found straddling the borders of the Jozini Municipality.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  49.84%  47.88%  -1.96%
 IFP  39.58%  46.18%  +6.6%
 EFF  – 1.99% +1.99%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 40
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 21
  • Seat allocation: ANC 19 seats, IFP 18, EFF 1, DA 1, Independent 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 2 seats and the IFP 3.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could form a coalition with the IFP or any two of the EFF, DA or the independent councillor. The IFP can partner with the ANC or the EFF/DA/Independent.

CONCLUSION

The IFP seems to want to cut out the ANC in as many of the hung councils in KwaZulu-Natal as possible. The most probable coalition therefore is that of the IFP and the EFF/DA/Independent.

Read this -> DA could be kingmaker in KZN and KZN coalition cards close to the chests .

MTUBATUBA

Mtubatuba Local Municipality is situated along the northern coastal belt of KwaZulu-Natal and in the south-eastern corner of the uMkhanyakude District Municipality. Mtubatuba is located roughly 200km north of Durban and 55km north of the Richards Bay/Empangeni metropole along the N2 National Route. Mtubatuba has developed from a railway siding into a strong sub-regional commercial, service, transport and administrative centre for the entire north-eastern Zululand region.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 IFP  39.88%  44.86%  +4.98%
 ANC  40.86%  43.98%  +3.12%
 DA  3.82% 3.82% +2.81%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 40
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 21
  • Seat allocation:  IFP 18 seats, ANC 18, DA 2, EFF 1, AIC 1
  • Scenario: Both the IFP and ANC short 3 seats.
  • Possible coalitions: The IFP and ANC could partner with one another or alternatively the DA and one or both of the EFF or AIC.

CONCLUSION

The IFP seems to want to cut out the ANC in as many of the hung councils in KwaZulu-Natal as possible. The most probable coalition therefore is that of the IFP and the DA/EFF.

THE NEXT BLOG POST

In the last post in this series on municipal coalitions I will look at the situation in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces.

WORD OF THANKS

Thanks to the IEC and Paul Berkowitz for the pictures used in this series of blog posts. Paul wrote an excellent summary on the coalition picture outside of the Metros which could be read here ->  Coalition politics: what’s possible outside of the metros .