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Analysts predict a bumpy ride for the IFP in KZN municipalities as questions swirl over its deal with the EFF

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/ African News Agency(ANA)

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/ African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 25, 2021


DURBAN - POLITICAL analysts are predicting a bumpy ride for the IFP in the KwaZulu-Natal municipalities that it is set to run with support from the EFF.

The IFP reached an agreement in which the EFF got the positions of deputy mayor in Dannhauser, Nongoma and uMhlathuze municipalities.

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The IFP arrangement with the EFF came about after the party’s deal with the ANC on hung municipalities fell apart. According to that deal, it was proposed that where the IFP had the most seats, it would form the municipal government. Reciprocally, where the ANC had the most seats, despite no outright majority, the ANC would form the municipal government.

However, the deal fell apart on Monday which led to the IFP approaching other opposition parties.

EFF KZN chairperson Vusi Khoza said there was no written agreement between the two parties, but there was a common interest in removing the ANC.

“The common interest here was that we remove thugs from the levers of power so that the resources available can be used to accelerate service delivery because there is an outcry from our communities who are not getting serviced,” said Khoza.

He added that they would use the positions acquired to make sure there was clean governance in municipalities where they were represented in positions of power.

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said in a statement yesterday that as part of its deal with the ANC, it had asked the ruling party for shared governance arrangements in the province’s economic hubs, but this was refused.

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“We therefore took the mutual decision not to continue our agreement, and instead agreed to allow local dynamics to prevail in the remaining hung municipalities.”

He said the IFP had established councils in Nongoma, Inkosi Langalibalele, Umvoti, Abaqulusi, Newcastle, Alfred Duma, Endumeni and Mthonjaneni and uMhlathuze.

Political analyst Thabani Khumalo described the EFF as an unpredictable partner and said this would make the arrangement with the IFP difficult to manage. He cited past experience in which the EFF had entered into an agreement with the DA in the previous term, as an illustration of the party’s unpredictable nature.

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“The IFP is in for one very difficult ride and should brace itself, especially when it comes to the drawing up of budgets, because that is where the EFF will want to stamp its authority,” said Khumalo. He warned that the IFP should be prepared for the possibility of the EFF pulling out of the arrangement without any warning.

“The EFF is playing mind games here and is being naughty, because without a formal agreement, when things fall apart they can call a press conference announcing that they are pulling out, and if things work they can claim to have been part of the success story when campaigning,” Khumalo added.

Another analyst, Siyabonga Ntombela from University of KwaZuluNatal, said the arrangement would be a rocky one as the two parties come from different ideological backgrounds politically.

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“It is going to be a bumpy ride because there is very little in common between the two parties, except the desire to have the ANC out of power,” said Ntombela.

He added that it would take a lot of management to ensure that the relationship worked to the benefit of the people.

The analyst noted though that with the 2024 elections looming, the two parties would be keen to do better at the polls and use the municipalities where they are in control as a springboard.

The SACP in KZN said it did not believe the arrangement would work and has boldly predicted its collapse.

Briefing the media yesterday, SACP KZN secretary Themba Mthembu said: “The SACP in Moses Mabhida is so disappointed and concerned by the sudden outbreak of political bickering between the IFP and the ANC leading to the collapse of what was regarded as a mature and people-centred cooperative agreement.

“The ANC and the IFP are two organisations that are followed by large numbers of the working-class population,” said Mthembu.

He added that the fate of the province had been decided by one municipality, and blamed poor leadership from both sides in failing to see to it that the deal was followed through by all structures.

This was in reference to the suggestions that the ANC councillors had started the commotion that placed the deal in jeopardy when they decided to vote against IFP councillors in AbaQulusi Municipality.