An analysis of a coalition government : a new path in administration and governance at local government level in South Africa
Ndou, Livhuwani Levy
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The African National Congress has been a dominant party in the South African politics since the dawn of democracy in 1994. The support and dominance of the ANC is confirmed by the election results since 1994 at national, provincial, and local level. The loss of support by the ANC was felt in the 2016 local government elections in the Johannesburg, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni. These metros and some other municipalities brought hung municipalities as there was no outright winner in the elections. The results of the 2016 local government elections brought the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) together to form a coalition with other smaller parties to put the ANC out of power in the City of Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay Metros. Although there were some coalitions in the past, South Africans have started to experience more of coalition government after the 2016 local government elections. Where there is no outright winner in the elections, coalitions cannot be avoided since they are imposed on the politicians by the voters. Coalition government in the metros was characterised by conflict and instability which compromised service delivery and governance. The coalitions in South Africa are characterised by constant change of leadership. Coalitions in South Africa are not regulated. The establishment of coalition government is only in the hands of the politicians at national level, and the agreements amongst political parties are not made public which in the view of the study, is the source of conflict amongst coalition partners. To avoid instability and conflict amongst coalition partners, this study has developed a framework that should guide coalitions in South Africa. The major objective of the study was to investigate the impact of coalitions on governance in South Africa in the City of Tshwane. The researcher used semi structured interviews to collect data from the key informants that include regional members of the ANC, DA, EFF, academics and political commentators. The study found several challenges in coalition government establishment in South Africa. Such challenges include instability in coalitions, breakdown of the coalitions, poor service delivery, and constant change of leadership, which can hurt the governance of municipalities. A framework that would assist in the proper functioning of a coalition was developed in this study to address various challenges encountered in coalition governments.
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