DA coalition leads Bitou

AUF’s previous agreement with ANC impossible to justify, mayor says

After only eight months since the Active United Front (AUF) and the ANC took over the reins in Bitou through a coalition agreement, the coastal holiday town has seen a power shift. Bitou mayor and AUF secretary Peter Lobese said on Saturday that his party had now joined forces with the DA.

“The AUF has, however, not given the DA a blank cheque.

“For the record, the AUF has entered a pro-poor cooperation agreement with the DA to grow the local economy and to improve the lives of our people,” he said.

Lobese revealed last month that his party’s coalition with the ANC had deteriorated following a series of issues which he said was making it impossible to justify the relationship.

He claimed that the ANC had frustrated attempts to establish clean administration and to commit resources to address the difficulties faced by Bitou residents.

He also said the ANC had not implemented their coalition agreement and had not signed a service delivery plan the parties had agreed upon.

The AUF and the ANC in Bitou formed a coalition after last year’s local government elections in which Bitou became a hung council, with both the ANC and the DA having secured six seats in the 13-seat council.

The AUF secured the final seat. As part of the coalition, Lobese became mayor.

In April, however, he called for the coalition agreement to be ended and then invited the DA and the ANC to negotiate terms of a new coalition.

These negotiations came to an end last week and on Saturday Lobese announced that a decision had been made to form a coalition with the DA. Lobese described the newly formed relationship as a “unity for opposites for a functional government with pro-poor service delivery objectives”.

He said the parties had agreed to put structures in place to monitor and implement the stipulations of the agreement.

The agreement was based on several principles, including providing houses and employment to those who needed it.

Lobese said since the elections the AUF had been confronted with the dilemma of which party to enter into a coalition with to best aid the AUF’s socialist agenda.

“For the sake of progress and stable government, in the past seven months, the AUF entered into a coalition with the ANC.

“Our decision was based on the premise that we share common ideas; specifically that of a pro-poor and working class agenda.

“The reality that later confronted the AUF is that the opposite was in fact true. Be that as it may, we also understand the perceived polarised identities and ideological differences between the AUF and the DA.”

Lobese said the new coalition might or might not work and would depend on whether the DA “walks the talk”.

“The divorce from the ANC is not based on hatred but rather opposing moral values and principles.

“Our subsequent partnership with the DA is neither based on like ideology or policies, nor differences in race but rather what the DA is able to offer or even more accurately, its presented promises of social and economic transformation to the people of Bitou in coalition with the AUF.”

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