Yugendree Naidoo and Caitlin Ross
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape this week threatened strike action if the Democratic Alliance (DA) did not form a coalition government in the province.
The DA captured 51.46% of the Western Cape vote in last Wednesday’s elections, putting it in control of the province. It trounced the ANC, who managed 31.55%, down from 45.25% in 2004.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich cautioned the DA against continuing their agenda of “perpetuating white privilege in the province”.
Ehrenreich said Cosatu wanted to remind the DA that the party did not represent at least 48% of the electorate and very few of the African voters in the province.
“Therefore good governance will dictate that the African communities are brought into government,” said Ehrenreich.
He called for all major political parties to form part of a coalition government in the Western Cape.
But DA executive director of marketing and communications Paul Boughey said Ehrenreich’s comments misunderstood the process of democracy. He said the people of the Western Cape had spoken in a fair and free electoral process.
He said Zille, the premier-elect for the Western Cape, would never enter into a coalition with the ANC or their alliance partners since she wanted to lead the people of South Africa by showing what she could offer, he said.
ANC spokesperson Garth Strachan was not available for comment.
Analysts agree all eyes will be on the DA’s delivery track record over the next five years as it seeks to capitalise on being in control of the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape.
The division between a DA city and an ANC provincial government has previously caused tensions in the delivery of services, especially in the area of housing in Cape Town, where there is a staggering backlog of 400,000. Analysts believe if the DA is to grow its vote it will have to convince township voters of its credentials.
UCT political science lecturer Zwelethu Jolobe said every party who had controlled the city had been confronted with the same problem – that of bridging the yawning divide.
“None of them have been able to redistribute the wealth,” he said.
With the DA running the city and the ANC the province, he said troubles had arisen around where jurisdiction on various issues lay.
He said housing was the “fundamental issue” with the fight over where control should be.
“If the DA coalition controls the province we can expect better synergy, with the same interests and priorities,” he said.
However, Development Action Group (DAG) CEO Kailash Bhana said the problems occured at a more fundamental level, and current developments only served to perpetuate “Apartheid-style thinking”.
“The planning replicates (Apartheid-style thinking) in that it keeps the poor relegated to the outskirts of the city,” she said, giving the example of mass housing developments taking place in Bluedowns, Delft and Joe Slovo.
Housing developments in ghettos on the periphery of the city kept the poor out and prevented them from accessing the infrastructure benefits the city had to offer.
“To what extent do politicians – and not necessarily the DA coalition, the ANC too – champion an integrated and inclusive city instead of bowing to the pressures of the status quo?” she asked. — West Cape News