Smaller political parties in Nelson Mandela Bay have joined forces to form a coalition block to negotiate with either the DA or ANC to establish a new council.
COPE, the United Front (UF) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) said they have held discussions with the EFF, UDM, ACDP and the AIC in the Bay with the hopes of getting them to join their block.
This, they believe, will ensure that the smaller parties speak as one united voice. The three have one seat each.
Speaking from Numsa’s regional offices in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, representatives of the three parties said the purpose of forming the block was to prevent “divide and rule” tactics by either the DA or ANC.
The DA has 57 seats and needs four more to make up the majority in the council, while the ANC has 50 seats and needs 11 to rule the municipality.
The UF, PA and COPE claim that the other smaller parties – which all together make up 13 seats in the council – were keen to join them in voting as a block, but they could not pronounce yet because their mandate was decided at a national level.
PA Eastern Cape leader Marlon Daniels said: “As parties we have come to an agreement that we will stand together during this period.
“We invite all other smaller parties to join us and to stand together as a block in unity for the purpose of coalition discussions.
“We believe that will strengthen ourselves, being regarded as smaller parties and we will speak as a single voice, a united voice with either the ANC or the DA.
“We are in constant consultations and engagements throughout the region to ensure that we accomplish our mission and that is to win all other parties over to form part of this block.”
He said if the block chose not to form a coalition with either the ANC or DA because they could not agree to their non-negotiables, they would have no qualms about doing so.
“On the 20th there has to be a government in place, or there will have to be another election and we’re ready for that.”
UF regional secretary Mkhuseli Mtsila said negotiating as a block put them in a better position than if they negotiated as individuals.
“We also agreed to put up a framework that is based on the common fundamentals of all this smaller parties that are negotiating together so that when we negotiate with either the ANC or the DA it is not just a blank cheque, or a marriage of convenience,” Mtsila said.
COPE regional spokesman Thembelani Kondile said they never knew how much power they had until they were approached by the bigger political parties. He vowed to forever have the residents’ interest at heart.
“We can assure the people of Nelson Mandela Bay that we will never sell them out,” Kondile said.