Poll: Should the DA & EFF form coalitions in some of the key hung municipalities?

Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Picture in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces

INTRODUCTION

Following the 2016 local elections, South Africa is gripped with coalition fever, with 27 municipalities having hung councils where no one political party has more than 50% of the allocated seats.

Forming coalitions is an exercise in real politics ( politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises) and its therefore dangerous to predict beforehand the outcome of any coalition negotiations. Relying on what is speculated in the mainstream media is especially fraught with danger as evidenced in this article looking at what transpired in 2006 in Cape Town when parties were also faced with a hung council scenario Anatomy of a coalition coup: Are there lessons ahead of the August election?

In this series of blog posts I nevertheless looked at the possible coalitions in each of the 27 municipalities. In the first post the situation in the Metros was looked at ->  Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Metro Picture followed by the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces -> Coalition Fever: An Overview of the picture in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces. In the third post I looked at all the hung councils in KwaZulu-Natal -> Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Picture in KwaZulu-Natal  and in this  last post possible coalitions in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces.

WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE

There are eight municipalities in the Western Cape that require coalitions, a full third of the 24 local municipalities. There are a number of small, local parties that hold the balance of power in various municipalities. These parties include Witzenberg Aksie (WA); the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (ICOSA); the Active United Front (AUF); the Knysna Unity Congress (K.U.C); the Karoo Gemeenskap Party (KGP); the Karoo Ontwikkelings Party (KOP); and the Karoo Democratic Force (KDF) (source: Peter Berkowitz).

WITZENBERG

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 DA  46.38%  45.96%  -0.42%
 ANC  36.3%  32.28%  -4.02%
 WA  – 4.99% +4.99%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 23
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 12
  • Seat allocation: DA 11 seats, ANC 8, WA 1, ICOSA 1, EFF 1, COPE 1
  • Scenario: The DA short 1 seat and the ANC 4.
  • Possible coalitions: The DA could form a coalition with any of the other 5 parties represented on Council. The ANC can work with the DA or will have to go into a coalition with the WA, ICOSA, EFF and COPE.

CONCLUSION

The most likely coalition seems to be the DA working with COPE.

HESSEQUA

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  40.47%  46.14%  +5.67%
 DA  47.41%  42.94%  -4.47%
 FF+  – 4.86% +4.86%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 17
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 9
  • Seat allocation: ANC 8 seats, DA 8, FF+ 1
  • Scenario: The ANC and DA both short 1 seat.
  • Possible coalitions: Both the ANC or DA could partner with the FF+.

CONCLUSION

The FF+ is the kingmaker in this municipality and a DA/FF+ coalition is the most likely outcome although FF+ leader, Pieter Mulder, served previously as an deputy minister in the ANC cabinet. Latest news reports indicates that Coalition negotiations in Hessequa ‘hit a snag’

BITOU

Bitou Local Municipality, formerly known as Plettenberg Bay Municipality, forms part of the Eden District Municipality, which is located in the Western Cape province.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 DA  47.56%  48.58%  +1.02%
 ANC  45.48%  40.99%  -4.49%
 AUF  – 5.36% +5.36%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 13
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 7
  • Seat allocation: DA 6 seats, ANC 6, AUF 1
  • Scenario: The DA and ANC both short 1 seat.
  • Possible coalitions: Both the DA or ANC could partner with the AUF.

CONCLUSION

The AUF is the kingmaker in this municipality. BREAKING NEWS – The AUF has decide to side with the ANC to wrestle control of the municipality away from the DA -> AUF to from coalition with the ANC in Bitou Municipality .

KNYSNA

Knysna Local Municipality is part of the Eden District Municipality, located in the Western Cape province. Adjacent municipalities include George Local Municipality to the north-west and Bitou Local Municipality to the east. The municipality is also bordered by the Indian Ocean in the south.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
DA  50.83%  49.61%  -1.22%
 ANC  38.31%  32.14%  -6.17%
 COPE  6.85% 5.71% -1.14%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 21
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 11
  • Seat allocation: DA 10 seats, ANC 7, COPE 1, K.U.C 1, ACDP 1, Independent 1
  • Scenario: The DA short 1 seat and the ANC 4
  • Possible coalitions: The DA could form a coalition with any of the other parties whilst the ANC will have to form a coalition with the DA or alternatively the three smaller parties and the independent councillor.

CONCLUSION

A DA coalition with any of the three smaller parties or the independent councillor seems to be the most likely. BREAKING NEWS – The independent councillor, Velile Waxa, formed a coalition with the DA in the Knysna municipality -> Coalition deal gives DA a further 5 years in Knysna .

PRINCE ALBERT

Prince Albert Local Municipality lies on the southern edge of the Great Karoo, a semi-desert region of the Western Cape province. The municipality provides services to Leeu Gamka, Prince Albert Road, Klaarstroom and Prince Albert, and is an area with diverse investment opportunities.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 DA  25.57%  33.53%  +7.96%
 KGP  50.45%  32.52%  -17.93%
 ANC  23.78 31.63% +7.85%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 7
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 4
  • Seat allocation:  DA 3 seats, KGP 2, ANC 2
  • Scenario: The DA requires 1 seat and the ANC and KGP both 2 seats.
  • Possible coalitions: The DA  could work with any of the KGP or ANC. The KGP or ANC could form a coalition or any of them can decided to work with the DA.

CONCLUSION

The ANC and KGP formed a coalition after the 2011 local elections and therefore are the kingmaker in this municipality. BREAKING NEWS – The DA and KGP formed a coalition to manage the Prince Albert municipality for the next 5 years -> DA bags coalition deals in Prince Albert, Laingsburg and Beaufort West  .

LAINGSBURG

Laingsburg Local Municipality is a friendly, modern Karoo town, only 280km from Cape Town. The town lies in a geologically fascinating area, steeped in history and tradition. It is a worthwhile and hospitable stop on the busy N1 highway through the Great Karoo.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  37.81%  46.08%  +8.27%
 DA  40.48%  43.88%  +3.4%
 KOP  – 4.5% +4.5%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 7
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 4
  • Seat allocation: ANC 3 seats, DA 3, KOP 1
  • Scenario: Both the ANC and DA short 1 seat to form a majority.
  • Possible coalitions: Both the ANC and DA will have to form a coalition with the KOP to form a majority.

CONCLUSION

A DA/COPE coalition governed this municipality after the 2011 elections. The KOP is the kingmaker in this municipality. BREAKING NEWS – The DA entered into a coalition agreement with the KOP -> Karoo Parties, DA forms coalition in three hung councils .

BEAUFORT WEST

Beaufort West Local Municipality is located in the Western Cape province. The adjacent municipalities and provinces include the following: Karoo Hoogland Local Municipality, Namakwa District Municipality and Northern Cape (north-west), Ubuntu Local Municipality, Pixley Ka Seme District Municipality and Northern Cape (north), Camdeboo Local Municipality, Sarah Baartman District Municipality and Eastern Cape (east), Sarah Baartman District Municipality and Eastern Cape (south-east), Prince Albert Local Municipality (south), and Laingsburg Local Municipality (south-west).

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 DA  41.01%  48.99%  +7.98%
 ANC  50.17%  42.21%  -7.96%
 KDF  – 5.18% +5.18%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 13
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 7
  • Seat allocation: DA 6 seats, ANC 6, KDF 1
  • Scenario: Both the DA and ANC short 1 seat.
  • Possible coalitions: Both the DA and ANC will have to work with the KDF.

CONCLUSION

The KDP holds the balance of power in this municipality. BREAKING NEWS – The DA and KDF formed a coalition to wrestle control of this municipality from the ANC -> KDF: Beaufort West coalition marks the end of corruption .

KANNALAND

Kannaland Local Municipality is classified as a Category B municipality and is responsible for basic service provision to the towns of Calitzdorp, Ladismith, Vanwyksdorp and Zoar, as well as the surrounding farming communities. Kannaland is situated about 340km north-east of Cape Town along the famous tourism Route 62. It is linked by tarred main roads to all other major centres, such as Oudtshoorn (100km), Montagu (139km), George (160km), Mossel Bay (185km) and Port Elizabeth (420km).

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ICOSA  41.96%  48.14%  +6.18%
 DA  23.49%  27.52%  +4.03%
 ANC  26.67% 21.51% -5.16%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 7
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 4
  • Seat allocation:  ICOSA 3 seats, DA 2, ANC 2
  • Scenario: ICOSA short 1 seat and both the DA and ANC 2 seats.
  • Possible coalitions: The

CONCLUSION

The seat allocation is the same as in 2011 when the ANC and ICOSA formed a coalition. Latest media reports seems to indicate that ICOSA is still talks with both the ANC and DA -> DA hoping to complete coalition deals in hung WC councils today .

NORTHERN CAPE

There are three small municipalities that require coalitions. Small parties and independents will be crucial in all three municipalities. The parties to watch are the Kgatelopele Community Forum (KCF) and the Khoisan Revolution (KSR).

UBUNTU

Ubuntu Local Municipality is a municipality in the Pixley Ka Seme District Municipality in the Northern Cape province. Its seat is Victoria West.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  53.55%  42.04%  -11.51%
 DA  31.97%  31.21%  -0.76%
 IND  – 13.76% +13.76%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 7
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 4
  • Seat allocation: ANC 3 seats, DA 2, Independents x2
  • Scenario: The ANC short 1 seat and the DA 2.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could work with the DA or any one of the independent councillors. The DA will have to work with the ANC or secure the support of both the independent councillors.

CONCLUSION

The independent councillors are the kingmakers in this municipality.

KGATELOPELE

Kgatelopele Local Municipality is a Category B municipality found in the Northern Cape province. It was formerly known as Danielskuil Municipal District or Area.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  67.15%  43.05%  -24.1%
 DA  21.98%  28.1%  +6.12%
 KCF  – 22% +22%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 7
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 4
  • Seat allocation: ANC 3 seats, DA 2, KCF 2
  • Scenario: The ANC short seat 1 seat and the DA and KFC both 2.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could form a coalition with the DA or KFC. The DA will have to work with either the ANC or KFC.

CONCLUSION

The KFC is the kingmaker in this municipality and could either go with the ANC or DA.

NAMA KHOI

Nama Khoi Local Municipality is situated on the north-western side of the Northern Cape province. It forms part of the Namakwa District Municipality, with the town of Springbok as the administrative centre. It is the largest municipality in the Namakwa District Municipality. Nama and Khoisan people occupied this area for hundreds of years.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  48.92%  46.73%  -2.19%
 DA  35.15%  41.01%  +5.86%
 KSR  – 5.15% +5.15%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 17
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 9
  • Seat allocation: ANC 8 seats, DA 7, KSR 1, COPE 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 1 seat and the DA 2.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could form a coalition with any of the DA, KSR or COPE. The DA will have to work with the ANC or secure the support of both KSR and COPE.

CONCLUSION

The KSR and COPE holds the balance of power in this municipality.

WORD OF THANKS

Thanks to the IEC and Paul Berkowitz for the pictures used in this series of blog posts. Paul wrote an excellent summary on the coalition picture outside of the Metros which could be read here ->  Coalition politics: what’s possible outside of the metros .

Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Picture in KwaZulu-Natal

INTRODUCTION

Following the 2016 local elections, South Africa is gripped with coalition fever, with 27 municipalities having hung councils where no one political party has more than 50% of the allocated seats.

Forming coalitions is an exercise in real politics ( politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises) and its therefore dangerous to predict beforehand the outcome of any coalition negotiations. Relying on what is speculated in the mainstream media is especially fraught with danger as evidenced in this article looking at what transpired in 2006 in Cape Town when parties were also faced with a hung council scenario Anatomy of a coalition coup: Are there lessons ahead of the August election?

In this series of blog posts I nevertheless looked at the possible coalitions in each of the 27 municipalities. In the first post the situation in the Metros was looked at ->  Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Metro Picture and in the second one the situation in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces -> Coalition Fever: An Overview of the picture in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces

In this third post I will look at all the hung councils in KwaZulu-Natal and in the last post possible coalitions in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces.

KWAZULU-NATAL PROVINCE

There are seven municipalities in the province with no outright majority party. The ANC has the most seats in five of these and the IFP in two, but the two parties are quite evenly matched in most of these municipalities.

The ANC needs the EFF as a coalition partner in most of these municipalities, assuming that ANC/IFP or ANC/DA coalitions are not on the table. There is also the chance that some councils may remain hung.

ENDUMENI

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  51.35%  49.53% -1.82 %
 IFP  16.12%  30.52%  +14.40%
 DA  20.54% 15.59% -4.98%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 13
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 7
  • Seat allocation: ANC 6 seats, IFP 4, DA 2, EFF 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short only 1 seat and the IFP 3.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could partner with any one of the IFP, DA or EFF. The IFP will have to partner with the ANC or alternatively both the DA and EFF if it wants to form a majority in this municipality.

CONCLUSION

The outcome will very much depend on which way the IFP will go with one newspaper article suggesting that they plan to cut out the ANC in six KwaZulu-Natal municipalities -> Talks about coalitions continue

NQUTHU

Nquthu Local Municipality is an administrative area in the uMzinyathi District of KwaZulu-Natal. Nquthu is an isiZulu name meaning ‘the back of the head’. Isandlwana, the site of the historic Anglo-Zulu War battle that took place on 22 January 1879, is a well-known tourist destination worldwide. Nquthu Local Municipality is located along the north-eastern boundary of the district. It borders onto the Endumeni, eMadlangeni, AbaQulusi, Ulundi, Nkandla and Msinga Local Municipalities. It is predominantly rural in nature, with expansive rural settlements being one of the major features.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 IFP  40.07%  44.09%  +4.02%
 ANC  40.36%  42.02%  +1.66%
 NFP  16.24% 5.96% -10.28%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 33
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 17
  • Seat allocation:  IFP 15 seats, ANC 14, NFP 2, EFF 1, DA 1
  • Scenario: The IFP short 2 seats and the ANC 3.
  • Possible coalitions: The IFP could partner with the ANC or the NFP or both the EFF and DA. The ANC will have to form a coalition with the IFP or alternatively the NFP with the support of one more additional seat from either the EFF or DA.

CONCLUSION

The Nquthu municipality is the only one the NFP was allowed to contest as it paid the registration fee for this municipality on time -> NFP still has Nquthu, IEC .

Given the past history between the IFP and NFP the most likely coalition is between the IFP and DA/EFF. The NFP formed a coalition with the ANC in this municipality after the 2011 municipal election but this time around both parties will have to woo over either the EFF or DA to work with it.

Read this -> Consolation for NFP in Nquthu

ESCOURT/LOSKOP

Escourt/Loskop Local Municipality is located approximately 165km north-west of Durban and 400km south-east of Johannesburg. The National Road N3 also traverses the municipality on its western portion. The municipality comprises parts of the magisterial districts of Weenen and Estcourt; the informal settlements of Cornfields, Thembalihle and Mimosadale; Loskop and settlements around Weenen. Escourt is the largest commercial centre in the Midlands region. Weenen is a small agricultural town that is starting to emerge as a tourist destination.

This is a newly formed municipality through the amalgamation of the former uMtshezi and Imbabazane Local Municipalities

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  Newly established municipality  49.48%  n/a
 IFP Newly established municipality  39.73%  n/a
 DA Newly established municipality 4.16% n/a

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 46
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 24
  • Seat allocation: ANC 23 seats, IFP 18, DA 2, AL JAMA-AH 2, EFF 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short only 1 seat and the IFP 6.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could form a coalition with the IFP, DA, AL JAMA or EFF. Only they can form a majority coalition in the municipality as the best that the IFP could do is to work with the DA, AL JAMA and the EFF to also hold 23 seats.

CONCLUSION

The possibility exist that this Council may remain hung.

eDUMBE

eDumbe Local Municipality is situated within the Zululand District Municipality in the north-western part of KwaZulu-Natal. The location of the head office is in Paulpietersburg, which is 50km north of Vryheid and 59km south of Mkhondo (previously Piet Retief).

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  27.61%  50.65%  +23.04%
 DA  4.44%  25.26%  +20.82%
 IFP  16.03% 15.57% -0.46%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 16
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 9
  • Seat allocation: ANC 8 seats, DA 5, IFP 3
  • Scenario: The ANC short 1 seat and the DA 4.
  • Possible coalitions: Only the ANC can form a majority coalition in eDumbe by working with the DA or IFP. The best the DA can do is to match the 8 seats of the ANC by working with the IFP.

CONCLUSION

This is one of the municipalities that the NFP controlled after the 2011 municipal elections. In 2016 the possibility exist that the Council may remain hung.

ABAQULUSI

AbaQulusi Local Municipality is a local municipality in Zululand in the KwaZulu-Natal province. It is named after the AbaQulusi, a Zulu clan whose descendants live in the vicinity of Vryheid, Utrecht, eDumbe and eNgoje.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  38.52%  46.22%  +7.7%
 IFP  35.01%  42.14%  +7.13%
 DA  6.65% 7.13% +0.7%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 44
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 23
  • Seat allocation: ANC 21 seats, IFP 19, DA 3, EFF 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 2 seats and the IFP 4.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could work with the IFP or DA. The IFP on the other hand will have to work with both the DA and EFF.

CONCLUSION

The outcome will very much depend on which way the IFP will go with one newspaper article suggesting that they plan to cut out the ANC in six KwaZulu-Natal municipalities -> Talks about coalitions continue

JOZINI

Jozini Local Municipality is located in northern KwaZulu-Natal and borders Swaziland and Mozambique. The Lebombo Mountains and Makhatini Flats provide a diverse and beautiful terrain rich in local resources, including water features and fossil sites. Both Ndumu and Mkuzi Game Reserves can be found straddling the borders of the Jozini Municipality.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  49.84%  47.88%  -1.96%
 IFP  39.58%  46.18%  +6.6%
 EFF  – 1.99% +1.99%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 40
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 21
  • Seat allocation: ANC 19 seats, IFP 18, EFF 1, DA 1, Independent 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 2 seats and the IFP 3.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could form a coalition with the IFP or any two of the EFF, DA or the independent councillor. The IFP can partner with the ANC or the EFF/DA/Independent.

CONCLUSION

The IFP seems to want to cut out the ANC in as many of the hung councils in KwaZulu-Natal as possible. The most probable coalition therefore is that of the IFP and the EFF/DA/Independent.

Read this -> DA could be kingmaker in KZN and KZN coalition cards close to the chests .

MTUBATUBA

Mtubatuba Local Municipality is situated along the northern coastal belt of KwaZulu-Natal and in the south-eastern corner of the uMkhanyakude District Municipality. Mtubatuba is located roughly 200km north of Durban and 55km north of the Richards Bay/Empangeni metropole along the N2 National Route. Mtubatuba has developed from a railway siding into a strong sub-regional commercial, service, transport and administrative centre for the entire north-eastern Zululand region.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party 2011 % vote 2016 % vote % Shift
 IFP  39.88%  44.86%  +4.98%
 ANC  40.86%  43.98%  +3.12%
 DA  3.82% 3.82% +2.81%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 40
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 21
  • Seat allocation:  IFP 18 seats, ANC 18, DA 2, EFF 1, AIC 1
  • Scenario: Both the IFP and ANC short 3 seats.
  • Possible coalitions: The IFP and ANC could partner with one another or alternatively the DA and one or both of the EFF or AIC.

CONCLUSION

The IFP seems to want to cut out the ANC in as many of the hung councils in KwaZulu-Natal as possible. The most probable coalition therefore is that of the IFP and the DA/EFF.

THE NEXT BLOG POST

In the last post in this series on municipal coalitions I will look at the situation in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces.

WORD OF THANKS

Thanks to the IEC and Paul Berkowitz for the pictures used in this series of blog posts. Paul wrote an excellent summary on the coalition picture outside of the Metros which could be read here ->  Coalition politics: what’s possible outside of the metros .

 

Coalition Fever: An Overview of the picture in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces

INTRODUCTION

Following the 2016 local elections, South Africa is gripped with coalition fever, with 27 municipalities having hung councils where no one political party has more than 50% of the allocated seats.

Forming coalitions is an exercise in real politics ( politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises) and its therefore dangerous to predict the outcome of any coalition negotiations beforehand. Relying on what is speculated in the mainstream media is especially fraught with danger as evidenced in this article looking at what transpired in 2006 in Cape Town when parties were also faced with a hung council scenario Anatomy of a coalition coup: Are there lessons ahead of the August election?

In this series of blog posts I will nevertheless look at the possible coalitions in each of the 27 municipalities. In my first post I looked at the situation in the Metros ->  Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Metro Picture and in this one I will look at the situation in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces, followed by a third post looking at KwaZulu-Natal and a last post looking possible coalitions in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces.

Note – Thanks to the IEC and Paul Berkowitz for the pictures used in this series of blog posts. Paul wrote an excellent summary on the coalition picture outside of the Metros which could be read here ->  Coalition politics: what’s possible outside of the metros .

FREE STATE PROVINCE

The only municipality in the Free State with a hung council is that of Metsimaholo.

METSIMAHOLO

The Metsimaholo Local Municipality is an administrative area in the Fezile Dabi District of the Free State province. Metsimaholo means ‘big water’ in Sesotho. The municipality was established in 2000 through the amalgamation of the then Sasolburg, Deneysville and Oranjeville Transitional Local Councils.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  63.04%  45.08%  -17.96%
 DA  28.97%  35.22%  +6.25%
 EFF  – 17.87% +17.87 %

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 42
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 22
  • Seat allocation: ANC 19, DA 12, EFF 8, MCA 2, FF+ 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 3 seats for a majority and the DA 10
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could partner with the DA or EFF individually or together with the two smaller parties or just with the MCA (the Metsimaholo Community Association, a local party that might hold the balance of power) and FF+ who together holds 3 seats. The DA could form a coalition with the ANC or EFF but in the latter instance they will require the support of the one or both of the smaller parties.

CONCLUSION

I agree with Paul Berkowitz that the ANC has more options in Metsimaholo than the DA. A lot however depends on the decision of the MCA, a crucial partner in two of the possible coalitions. Looking at the latest news articles it seems that the MCA is not open to discussing coalitions with the ANC ->  Cold shoulder for ruling party

GAUTENG PROVINCE

Other than the three metros Mogale City is the only other municipality in Gauteng that will require a coalition. An ANC-led coalition is most likely, as the party only needs 1 more seat for a majority, while a coalition of minority parties requires the participation of every other party.

MOGALE CITY

Mogale City Local Municipality lies directly west and south of the City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane Metropolitan areas respectively, and forms part of one of the three district municipalities that make up the peripheral areas of the Gauteng province. To the north, west and south it borders onto the Madibeng, Rustenburg and Rand West City Local Municipalities respectively. The northern part of Mogale City comprises the bulk of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Mogale City’s strongest functional urban linkage is with the City of Johannesburg. Krugersdorp and the greater Kagiso area.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
ANC 60.36%  48.84% -11.52%
 DA  32.89% 34.88%  +1.99%
 EFF  –  11.65%  +11.65%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 77
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 39
  • Seat allocation: ANC 38 seats, DA 27, EFF 9,  FF+ 2, IFP 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 1 seat and the DA 12.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC only requires 1 seat and can therefore form a coalition with the DA or EFF or any of the two smaller parties. The DA will require the support of the EFF, FF+ and IFP to be able to form a majority.

CONCLUSION

Its likely that the ANC will be able to form a coalition as it requires the support of just one of the smaller parties.

NORTH WEST PROVINCE

There is only one municipality in need of a coalition in the North West province, but it’s a very important one. Rustenburg is the only contested municipality where the EFF is the ‘official opposition’. The roles of the Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) and the Botho Community Movement (BCM) will be important.

RUSTENBERG

Rustenburg Local Municipality is a Category B municipality situated within the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality in the North West province. Rustenburg is a large town situated at the foot of the Magaliesberg Mountain Range. Rustenburg (meaning ‘town of rest’ or ‘resting place’) was proclaimed a township in 1851. This large town is situated some 112km north-west and is a 90-minute drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties are indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC 71.88% 48.55%  -23.33%
 EFF 26.76% +26.76%
 DA 20.1% 16%  -4.1%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 89
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 45
  • Seat allocation:  ANC 43 seats, EFF 24, DA 14, F4SD 4,  AIC 1, FF+ 1, UDM 1, BCM 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 2 seats for a majority and the EFF 21 seats.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC can form a coalition with the EFF or DA or F4SD (a new party made up of disgruntled ANC councillors) or any two of the smaller parties who holds 1 seat each. The EFF will require the support of the DA & F4SD and three of the smaller parties that holds one seat each.

CONCLUSION

Although the ANC only requires 2 seats and the EFF 21, the outcome is close to call given the kingmaker role that can be played by the F4SD and BCM -> Little known party could be play kingmaker in Rustenburg & BCM will not compromise community in coalition talks .

Read also this -> EFF might lead coalition government in Rustenburg – Shivambu 

LIMPOPO PROVINCE

There are two municipalities in the Limpopo Province in need of a coalition namely Thabazimbi and Modimolle/Mookgopong.

THABAZIMBI

Thabazimbi Local Municipality is located within the Waterberg District Municipality in the south-western part of the Limpopo province, has Botswana as its international neighbour, and is a mere two-hour drive from Pretoria. Thabazimbi is known as ‘mountain of iron’, which is a Setswana name referring to the highly lucrative iron ore reef first discovered in the municipality in 1919.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC 62.71% 45.3% -17.4%
 DA 19.86% 22.21%  +2.35%
 EFF 20.24% +20.24%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 23
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 12
  • Seat allocation: ANC 10 seats, EFF 5, DA 5, TRA 2,  FF+ 1
  • Scenario: The ANC short 2 seats and the EFF and DA 7.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could form a coalition with the EFF or DA or the TRA (Thabazimbi Residents Association). The EFF and DA can work together but then they will also have to get the cooperation of the TRA.

CONCLUSION

The TRA is the kingmakers in this municipality and depending on who they agree to work with (ANC or DA/EFF) is going to have the majority.

MODIMOLLE/MOOKGOPONG

Mookgopong/Modimolle Local Municipality is situated within the Waterberg District in the Limpopo province. It was established by the amalgamation of the Mookgopong and Modimolle Local Municipalities in August 2016. The municipality occupies a strategic position from the main markets of the country by being at the south entrance of the province. It enjoys easy access from the main national arteries, the N1 and R101.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC Newly demarcated municipality 47.71% n/a
 DA Newly demarcated municipality 40.92%  n/a
 EFF Newly demarcated municipality 5.12% n/a

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 28
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 15
  • Seat allocation: ANC 13 seats, DA 7, EFF 6, FF+ 2
  • Scenario: The ANC short 2 seats for a majority, the DA 8 and the EFF 9.
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could work with the DA or EFF or the FF+ who has the exact number of seats they require. The DA could form a coalition with the ANC or the EEF + the FF+.

CONCLUSION

The FF+ is the kingmakers in this municipality should the ANC decide not work with the DA or EFF.

THE NEXT BLOG POST

In the next post I will look at the situation in the KwaZulu-Natal Province.

Coalition Fever: An Overview of the Metro Picture

INTRODUCTION

Following the 2016 local elections, South Africa is gripped with coalition fever, with 27 municipalities having hung councils where no one political party has more than 50% of the allocated seats.

This scenario was foreseen by a number of political commentators as far back as March 2015. See for example Brave yourself for a new era of coalition politics & 2016: Big three parties and the big four battlegrounds .

Forming coalitions is an exercise in real politics ( politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises) and its therefore dangerous to predict the outcome of coalition negotiations beforehand. Relying on what is speculated in the mainstream media is especially fraught with danger as evidenced in this article looking at what transpired in 2006 in Cape Town when parties were also faced with a hung council scenario Anatomy of a coalition coup: Are there lessons ahead of the August election?

In this series of blog posts I will nevertheless look at the possible coalitions in each of the 27 municipalities starting with the Metros, followed by a second posts looking at the situation in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces, followed by a third post looking at KwaZulu-Natal and a last post looking at the Western and Northern Cape Provinces

Of the four Metros where coalitions will be required, three are in Gauteng – Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni and one in the Eastern Cape namely Nelson Mandela Bay.

CITY OF JOHANNESBURG

BACKGROUND

The City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality is located in the Gauteng province. Johannesburg is the most advanced commercial city in Africa and the engine room of the South African and regional economy. It is a city with a unique, African character, world-class infrastructure in the fields of telecommunications, transportation, water and power, and with globally-competitive health care and educational facilities. However, the city is also one of contrasts – home to both wealthy and poor, residents and refugees, global corporations and emerging enterprises.

The demographics of Johannesburg indicate a large and ethnically diverse metropolitan area. As the largest city in South Africa, its population is defined by a long history of local and international migration. Johannesburg is home to more than 4,4 million people, accounting for about 36% of Gauteng’s population and 8% of the national population.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC  58.56%  44.55%  -14.05%
 DA  34.62%  38.37%  +3.75%
 EFF  – 11.09% +11.09%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 270
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 136
  • Seat allocation: ANC 121 seats, DA 104, EFF 30 & other smaller parties 15 seats
  • Scenario: The ANC short 15 seats for a majority and the DA 32 seats
  • Possible coalitions: The ANC could partner with the DA,  EFF or alternatively it will have to look at all the smaller parties to join it in a coalition. These parties include the IFP, AIC, FF+, ACDP, COPE, PA and ALJAMA of which the IFP holds the most seats namely 5. The DA could partner with the EFF but will require 2 more seats from any of the smaller parties.

CONCLUSION

A DA (121 seats), EFF (30 seats) and IFP (5 seats) coalition looks like the most likely outcome however in the game of coalitions it can work out differently in the end.

See also -> Why the DA is likely to win the coalition war in Johannesburg

 

TSHWANE METRO

BACKGROUND

The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality is situated in the Gauteng province and Pretoria is the capital of South Africa. It has merged with the Metsweding District, which was a consequence of the Gauteng Global City Region Strategy to reduce the number of municipalities in Gauteng to at least four by 2016. The new City of Tshwane is now the single-largest metropolitan municipality in the country, comprising seven regions, 105 wards and 210 councillors.

Pretoria has the second-largest number of embassies in the world after Washington DC. Many embassies thus call this city their home. The Union Buildings house the administrative hub of the country and have also been the setting for the presidential inaugurations of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and the incumbent South African president, Jacob Zuma.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
 DA 38.65%  43.15% +4.5%
 ANC  55.32% 41.25%  -14.07%
 EFF  –  11.63%  +11.63%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 214
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 108
  • Seat allocation: DA 93 seats, ANC 89, EFF 25, FF+ 4 and 1 seat each for ACDP, COPE & PAC.
  • Scenario: The DA short 15 seats and the ANC 19.
  • Possible coalitions: The only available option for the ANC is a coalition with the DA or EFF. The DA’s options are also limited to either the ANC or EFF as the smaller parties combined have too few seats to make up a majority in the Metro.

CONCLUSION

In Tshwane, expect a DA and EFF and possibly also the smaller party coalition, with the DA bringing in the smaller parties to counterbalance the EFF but also given the need for a national strategic view.

EKURHULENI METRO

BACKGROUND

City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality covers an extensive area from Germiston in the west to Springs and Nigel in the east. The former administrations of the nine towns in the former East Rand were amalgamated into the metropolitan municipality, along with the Khayalami Metropolitan Council and the Eastern Gauteng Services Council. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the province, and the country.

The economy in the region is larger and more diverse than that of many small countries in Africa. It accounts for nearly a quarter of Gauteng’s economy, which in turn contributes over a third of the national Gross Domestic Product. Many of the factories for production of goods and commodities are located in Ekurhuleni, often referred to as ‘Africa’s Workshop’.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties are indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
 ANC 61.63% 48.64%  -12.99%
 DA 30.29% 34.15% +3.86%
EFF 11.23%  +11.23%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 224
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 113
  • Seat allocation: ANC 109 seats, DA 77, EFF 25, AIC 4, IFP & FF+ 2 each followed by 1 each for the ACDP, PAC, PA, COPE & IRASA
  • Scenario: The ANC short 4 seats for a majority and the DA 36 seats.
  • Possible coalitions: The DA will have to work with the EFF and obtain at least 11 seats from the other 7 smaller parties who together holds 13 seats. The ANC shorts only 4 seats and can look at a coalition with the DA, EFF or more likely a combination of the smaller parties.

CONCLUSION

The most likely outcome is an ANC coalition with the smaller parties perhaps the AIC and/or IFP.

See also -> Coalition politics: A reality check

NELSON MANDELA BAY METRO

BACKGROUND

Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality is a Category A municipality, established on 5 December 2000. Nelson Mandela Bay was the first city in South Africa to establish a fully integrated democratic local authority and the only city in the world named after Nelson Mandela, who was born and spent his formative years in the Eastern Cape. Nelson Mandela Bay is a major seaport and automotive manufacturing centre located on the south-eastern coast of Africa. It is the economic powerhouse of the Eastern Cape province and one of six metropolitan areas in South Africa.

ELECTION RESULT AND VOTER SHIFTS

The 2016 election result is depicted in the picture above. The voter shift from the 2011 election for the three major parties is indicated in the table below:

Political Party

2011 % vote

2016 % vote % Shift
 DA 40.13% 47.71% +6.58%
 ANC 51.91% 40.92%  -10.99%
 EFF 5.12% +5.12%

COALITION PICTURE

  • Total seats: 120
  • Minimum seats for a majority: 61
  • Seat allocation: DA 57 seats, ANC 50, EFF 6, UDM 2 and 1 seat each for AIC, PA, COPE, ACDP & UFEC
  • Scenario: The DA short 4 seats for a majority and the ANC 11.
  • Possible coalitions: The DA can enter into a coalition with the EFF or if it so chooses any combination of the smaller parties who together holds 7 seats to make up the shortfall of 4 seats. The ANC have no option but to court the DA or EFF as well as obtain 5 more seats from any combination of the smaller parties if they partner with the EFF.

CONCLUSION

The DA could work with only the smaller parties but a DA and EFF coalition is most likely given the national picture where the DA requires the support of the EFF in other hung council municipalities.

THE NEXT BLOG POST

In the next post I will look at the situation in the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West Provinces.

The ANC’s dismal attempt, filled with irony, at wooing Afrikaans speaking voters

I was sitting in the drive through this afternoon, waiting for delivery of my well know branded chicken pieces, when on the Afrikaans RSG radio station an ANC local government advert bleated over my car’s stereo speakers after the compulsory warning that the political party and not the SABC paid for the advert. President Zuma urging Arikaans speaking voters, many who are White, to vote for his beloved “we will rule till Jesus descends from heaven” and “the party is my first love” political movement, the ANC.

Vote for us he said in imperfect English (not that mine is any better!) on an Afrikaans public radio station, because we will rid you from the pain of years of discrimination caused by the White Apartheid regime. Agreed, Apartheid was a gross injustice and a system that discriminated against many fellow South Africans purely based on their race.

But herein irony number one, the race card being played by a so called non-racial party – ‘White Apartheid’, the Presidents words aimed at uniting the nation behind the ANC, as opposed to just ‘Apartheid’. And that when trying to convince White voters to vote for it! What a sure way to convince those same White voters, the majority of whom voted in the 1980’s and early 1990’s to eventually rid South Africa from Apartheid or are born frees that only knows the new South Africa, not to vote for you.

But maybe the ANC don’t actual need the White votes because they are still generally expected to come out tops this year despite the growing electoral threat of the DA and the ANC’s own stepchild, the EFF. But maybe not in this years local government election, but highly possible in the next national election the ANC might just desperately need each and every White or Coloured Afrikaans speaking voter it can lay its hands on just to stay in power.

Irony number two namely the President advertising his party of freedom that gave us our wonderful Constitution with its guarantees of media freedom on the RSG radio station, belonging to the public broadcaster the SABC, and urging Afrikaans voters to vote for his party, when the same SABC as a government entity is busy eroding freedom of speech and free and fair reporting of news that’s in the public interest through the implementation of censorship. All of this right under the nose of the same ANC who until recently staunchly defended the SABC, its Board and controversial COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng and who only changed their tune very late because the party feared loosing even more votes in an election year.

Irony number three, that it was mainly journalist from the Afrikaans radio station, RSG, that had the guts to eventually stand up against the SABC dictatorship, thereby pushing the matter firmly into the national spotlight. Soldiers for media freedom, White and Coloured Afrikaans speaking South Africans together with their Black colleagues standing up and saying #notinmyname and paying the price by being summarily dismissed by the SABC without due process. Not bad Mr. President for a few descendants of Jan van Riebeeck, who you so quickly blame for all South Africa’s social ills, and Harry the Strandloper. But vote for you party, I would think not because when we expected your party to lead in front as the guardians of our Constitution you dismally failed leaving the fight for media freedom to mainly a few Afrikaans speaking SABC radio journalists.

Irony number four, the President being quoted in the media (and not out of context this time) saying that he does not understand how Black people could ever vote for the DA. Forgive me but on the ANC posters I thought I read that the party will fight racism? How then can President Zuma so blatantly claim all Black voters as the ANC’s personal property as if these voters don’t have the ability, free will and personal agency to decide for themselves who to vote for! And so only Black voters care for the ANC Mr. President? This would be funny if it was not so sad and tragic.

Coming back to the issue of calling out Apartheid as being a White construct it goes without saying that yes, White voters introduced Apartheid and sustained it for a number of decades to their benefit (and yes Apartheid was inherently unjust and discriminatory as previously stated). However in the last 15 years or so of Apartheid it was however hardly a pure White construct anymore. Hundred of thousands of Black, Coloured and Indian politicians and government functionaries served freely during these years in, and benefited from, state organs like the tri-cameral parliament, homeland governments and administrations, the TBVC state governments and administrations (former Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei governments), racially based local government structures in the Black townships and Indian and Coloured towns, racially mixed regional services councils and racially mixed provincial executives.

And herein lies irony number five, our past is seen by the ANC only in either good or bad, black or white terms. As if nothing good ever ever happened during the Apartheid years – South Africa did not develop to become Africa’s leading economy with an advanced banking and finance system and modern road and rail infrastructure, an industrialized nation that offered employment for most of its citizens, we did not advance technologically (no heart transplants, no Sasol etc.), there were no happy families or good memories for those living during those years etc. etc., no no all was bad and evil with only racist White people supporting the system and with all Black people, with the exception of a few collaborators, vehemently opposing the system.

And so to the last irony, whereas the ANC is quick to blame all White people for their association with Apartheid, they are even quicker to name as their own some of those Black people who served in the apartheid state or those White people who despite Apartheid are useful to their purpose. One example of the former being the late Tom Boya, the Mayor of the racially based and therefore despised by the ANC, Daveyton Black Local Authority who the ANC hailed as a hero at his funeral. This despite the fact that Tom Boya was not just an ordinary Mayor under Apartheid, but chairperson for many years in the 1980’s of the Black Urban Council Association of South Africa (UCASA), a position similar to that of the chairperson of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) today. He was however not branded a sell-out by the ANC as Mr. Buthelezi were often for having served in the KwaZulu-Natal homeland government.

An example of the latter – a White Deputy Minister who will remain nameless serving in the ANC government today despite being anti-ANC as a student at the Rand Afrikaans University. Every time I see him on television, I cringe when I think about how he spoke out against the ANC in the early 1980’s.

I’m sorry Mr. President, because of the aforementioned its going to take much more than a few words in a badly thought out English radio add aired on an Afrikaans radio station RSG to convince Afrikaans speaking voters of all backgrounds to vote for the ANC. And no its got nothing to do with racism or being anti-Black or anti-ANC but everything to do with the ANC’s dismal record in promoting and demonstrating their own commitment to real non-racialism, in upholding and fighting for all the values set out in our Constitution (cowardly leaving these fights to opposition parties, the Public Protector and ordinary citizens like the ‘SABC 8’) and in ensuring good governance in so many government institutions of which the SABC is but one of the ANC’s many failures.

White privilege – an alternative point of view

The topic of white privilege has become a heated one with many people arguing that its a reality in today’s society whereas just as many others are arguing that its a myth. Given South Africa’s troubled past and recent incidents of naked racism this debate is especially topical at the moment.

Sara Gon of the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) wrote about the myth of white privilege and argues that whilst whites were privileged under apartheid the answer thereto it is not black privilege but rather access to advantage:

“A privilege is a special right or advantage granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Whites were a privileged group under apartheid. Indisputable. This was the reason for apartheid. Whites gained access to education, job and wealth opportunities that were denied to blacks. This is no myth.

But white privilege as a method of attack and insult is becoming a leit motif in our politics. And white guilt is always on hand.

……….The tone is totalitarian and intolerant. It also implies that black advancement cannot occur without white degradation. Thus blacks remain victims who cannot redeem their own lives without the subjugation of whites.

The ignored truth is that being white under apartheid didn’t automatically lead to success. Whites still had to work hard to realise the benefits of advantage. Most did, some didn’t. Advantage didn’t cause success to just fall into white laps. Hard work and commitment had to be exercised to realise the benefits.

………..It is crucial to understand that once advantaged has been gained, it is seldom lost, whatever your colour.

Blacks are increasingly entering the middle class. They work hard, earn good salaries, buy houses and educate their children. Their children are then poised to take advantage of this background. No group, whatever its colour, is going to see its children regress into poverty.

Succeeding generations usually build on success. The real challenge for South Africa is to increase the size of the middle class.

The Awake SA initiative launched recently argues that white privilege is a reality that needs to be acknowledged. On its website Awake SA define and describe white privilege as follows:

“Society values certain aspects of our identity over others. In its simplest form, privilege means that we experience advantages over other people, as a result of possessing these valued aspects. Privilege normally refers to something that you were born with, rather than something you worked for – an example is society treating males differently to females based purely on their gender.

When we talk about white privilege, we are talking about the perks in life that we experience, that have been denied to others, based on the colour of our skin. This is done unknowingly, not on purpose, and is entrenched in our society as a norm.

Does it mean that you should feel guilty? No, you didn’t ask to be born white.

Does it mean that you’ve had an easy life? No, everyone has their fair share of hardships in life.

To have white privilege simply means that you gained an unearned advantage, in comparison to others. This is not through any fault of your own, but rather, as a result of prejudice and longstanding structures in our society.

White privilege is experienced differently according to class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography and age. For example, a white, middle aged blue collar Afrikaner woman from a rural community may not experience white privilege in the same way as a young, English South African who grew up in Johannesburg. Her passport of white privilege operates in unique ways for her as it does for each holder.

By examining your white privilege, you are critically reflecting on the ways that your skin colour has afforded you advantages, and disadvantaged others – even though you didn’t ask for any advantages or earn them.

Only by acknowledging it, learning about it, and speaking about it, are we able to truly make a change to the way we view and interact with each other.”

In response to the above post of Awake SA, I proposed the following alternative view on the thorny issue of white privilege:

Congratulations for launching this initiative. It’s a very important matter that requires due attention. Having said that I do think that the matter could be approached from a different point of view, a view that should not put any reasonable person’s back up, ensure that as many people as possible sign your proposed pledge without any reservation and therefore achieve what you are trying to do with this noble campaign.

It’s human nature, wrongly or rightly, to believe that what we have achieved in life are due to hard work, commitment and perseverance. That’s why it’s difficult to even begin to consider that who we are is perhaps, even in part, because of opportunities that have been denied to others. You yourself acknowledge that it’s not an easy thing to do.

I would however even go further to say that to request a person to consider that what he or she is are not earned but only due to privilege, how well meaning or intended, is inherently unfair. To do so denies that person’s self and dignity as its ‘attacks’ the basis of that person’s being, personal effort and heritage. It also takes away such persons human agency to act in a given environment, to make choices freely about his or her life and future. It limits such persons choices as they are ‘instructed’ to willingly or unwillingly  accept that they are privileged and are therefore required to act in a certain manner.

In addition, whilst I personally don’t deny the existence of white privilege, it’s impossible to quantify the extent of such privilege. Each white person’s circumstances are vastly different which you yourself highlight through the blue collar Afrikaner women versus young English man example. A blanket approach to ascribe white privilege equally to all white persons however does not allow any room whatsoever for such circumstances to be considered. Even if it could it would still be impossible to quantify the extent of privilege of one white person as opposed to another.

Lastly, it would be dishonest to argue that white privilege is the one and only reason that many of our fellow South Africans today are still poor and many more lack access to opportunities. Surely many other factors also played a role one of which is historical considerations such as the developmental gap that existed in Africa even before the European nations scrambled to acquire colonies on the continent. Another is the current governments failure to deliver on its mandate and open up economic opportunities to all.

What do I then propose? That the sting be taken out of the matter by urging South Africans of means, black and white, to acknowledge their privilege as opposed to white privilege per se. No reasonable person that are privileged today, irrespective of the reasons for such privilege, should have any qualms about acknowledging that they are more privileged than many many of our fellow citizens.

It will remove the feeling of quilt and it would then not be seen as an insult or attack on any person’s being, achievements or heritage and not act as a constraint to anybody’s human agency. It will also de-racialize the debate as it would also create room for black South Africans of means to also freely acknowledge their privilege.

I would argue that this approach will get the majority of white people to sign your pledge without delay and to commit themselves to work towards uplifting our fellow citizens (which I do think most white people already do by being loyal taxpayers of national and local government taxes, that are used to build a social welfare safety net for millions of poorer individuals and to provide free water and electricity to just as many poor households).

In conclusion, my suggested approach would also speak at a spiritual level to the hearts of especially older white people, who like me, are still devotedly Christian to act as the Holy Scripture demands in 1 John 3 verse 17:

“17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”