South Africa Opposition Wants Deal to Shut ANC Out of Johannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa, Capital Markets in Africa: South Africa’s Democratic Alliance is proposing a deal that would allow it to run the country’s biggest city while giving a smaller rival control of its first municipality and locking the ruling African National Congress out of the management of the two cities.

The country’s biggest opposition party, known as the DA, wants to swap support with the Economic Freedom Fighters following local elections last week that would give it the position of mayor in Johannesburg in exchange for supporting a candidate from the EFF in the platinum-mining hub of Rustenburg, according to a senior party leader. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, EFF spokesman and member of parliament, didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone

The deal would give the DA control of South Africa’s biggest city, the EFF its first experience of running a municipality and keep the ANC out of the management of two cities in which it had a majority until posting its worst ever electoral performance int he local vote. The DA official asked not to be identified because a formal agreement hasn’t been reached.

The election has put metropolitan areas with annual budgets of about 130 billion rand ($10 billion) in play as the ANC, hurt by a stagnating economy and scandals around its leader President Jacob Zuma, retained outright control of three of South Africa’s eight biggest urban areas, down from seven in 2011. The DA is a centrist party with business friendly policies while the EFF proposes nationalizing mines and banks.

In Johannesburg, which has an annual budget of more than 50 billion rand, the DA won 38.37 percent of the vote while the EFF, competing in its first local election, won 11.09 percent. The ANC saw its share of the vote slip to 44.55 percent from 58.56 percent.

In Rustenburg, which isn’t one of the country’s major metropolitan areas, the EFF won 26.76 percent, the DA 16 percent while smaller parties and independents with which it could ally won about nine percent. The ANC declined to 48.55 percent from 71.88 percent.

An agreement could be announced this weekend, the DA official said. The DA’s mayoral candidate in Johannesburg is Herman Mashaba, a cosmetics entrepreneur.

The EFF and the DA agreed on Wednesday to exchange documents over their approach to forming partnerships so that swapping councils would be possible, James Selfe, the DAs’ Federal Executive Chairman, said in an interview.

Source: Bloomberg Business News

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