Things to watch in 2022 that could make or break FREEDOM in South Africa: Numba 1 - Coalition governments

Hermann Pretorius | Feb 05, 2022
This situation of minority governments makes for nerve-wrecking politics. For all the things that a majority in a local government council are needed, like passing budgets and municipal legislation, it’s essentially anyone’s guess whether these things will be accepted by the councils.

Sign up now.
Support Liberty.

Things to watch in 2022 that could make or break FREEDOM in South Africa: Numba 1 - Coalition governments

There’s no getting away from the fact that life in Mzansi is tough. In 2019 South Africa headed into a recession with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, perhaps the most important economic indicator to show whether an economy is doing well or badly, falling from 1.5% in 2018 to 0.1% in 2019. Then Covid-19 hit in 2020. This led to unemployment in South Africa skyrocketing in 2021 to almost 50%. In that same year South Africa held local government elections which saw the ANC’s nationwide vote share fall below 50% for the first time in history.

Then came 2022, and, boy, did it start off with hecticness of epic proportions – Parliament almost burning down! With Covid-19 still a thing, the economy in a state, and politicians showing few signs of growing up and actually working for the people, this is the first article in a series of seven that’ll take a look at the year ahead and what’s coming down the line.

1. Coalition governments

Politics is a messy business, and in a way it should be. The interests of the people should be a topic that makes the heartbeat quicker and flare the odd temper. It’s important stuff. But this messiness sometimes leads to instability, especially when it comes to forming governments.

Now, in the aftermath of last year’s local government elections results, a few metros and municipalities were landed in the position where no single party got more than 50% of the votes in the municipal councils. This meant that no single party could easily form a government as you need the votes of more than 50% of councilors to be elected mayor and form a government.

As a result of this, several municipalities, among them some of the biggest metros in the country, are now governed by coalitions – parties working together to reach that 50% plus one mark in the council. However, to form a stable coalition can be a tricky business. Various parties need to come together and agree on a plan of action and who they will support for important positions like mayor and speaker. In some local government councils, like that of Tshwane, coalitions have been formed which have managed to do this. However, in others, like Johannesburg, even a few parties working together couldn’t reach this magic number. However, because of the funkiness of how mayoral governments are elected and the dance moves and swings and swerves of parties like the EFF, these coalitions, consisting mainly of the DA, the ACDP, the FF+, Cope, and the new kid on the block, Action SA, formed bigger voting blocs than the ANC could manage, even if they failed to get to the 50% mark. This had the effect of the coalitions being able to form what are called minority governments – governments that were voted into office with a majority of the votes of present councilors, but not necessarily having the support of a majority of all councillors.

This situation of minority governments makes for nerve-wrecking politics. For all the things that a majority in a local government council are needed, like passing budgets and municipal legislation, it’s essentially anyone’s guess whether these things will be accepted by the councils. Complicating the situation of minority governments, is the fact that these are coalition minority governments of two, three, four or more parties. Not only must the minority government maneuver to get 50% + 1 in the council, the mayors of these coalition minority governments must also ensure that they keep the coalition together and their coalition partners on board.

So, with the messiness of minority coalition governments in quite a few places across the country, South Africans should keep an eye on how these governments and the opposition councilors do business and behave themselves. It’s likely that these sorts of governments will become more and more part of life in South Africa, perhaps even on provincial or national levels, so it’s important to check if they work on local level. Whether they work will of course be up to the politicians, but, crucially, will also be up to all of us and whether we take government policies seriously enough not to outsource it to the politicians. In this regard, 2022 could be a make-or-break year for the idea of coalition politics in South Africa – and therefore a key thing to watch as we fight for freedom.

Next week we take a look at one of the big policy debates that’ll heat up in 2022: the National Health Insurance scheme. Solution to SA’s healthcare problems, or an Eskom for healthcare?

 

Cover image source available here.

 

Sign up now.
Support Freedom.

FAN empowers people like you to become champions of FREEDOM.

If you share our belief that a better South Africa is possible, sign up here:

 
.
Join a community of fellow freedom-lovers
Follow FAN and get into the conversation
Subscribe for engaging videos and podcasts
Short clips and pics that keep you entertained
Videos that empower you

©2022 Freedom Advocacy Network | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions