Party that receives most votes should lead coalition: Mashatile

Friday, May 26, 2023

Deputy President Paul Mashatile says in any coalition arrangement, the party that received the most votes should lead for the will of the people to be upheld.

“The matter of coalition governments is important and requires urgent attention and our collective wisdom. 

“I have responded to a similar question in the National Council of Provinces about coalition governments, and a need to convene a national dialogue on coalitions, and more specifically on reasons why municipalities are dysfunctional due to the absence of a regulatory framework guiding coalitions.”

The Deputy President was responding to oral questions in Parliament on Thursday about progress on the land reform programme, coalition governments, and his role as the President’s envoy on South Sudan. 

In response to a question from the Chief Whip of the opposition party, he said he acknowledges the intention to introduce the Private Member’s Bill on coalition governments.

“To begin with, I would like to reiterate that SALGA [South African Local Government Association] did develop a framework for coalition governments. We did observe in our previous response that the existing framework has weaknesses, and as a result, we committed to convene a dialogue to discuss and develop a coherent coalition framework.”

The Deputy President outlined principles that should serve as the foundation for a coalition in South Africa, which should always put the people first by making them the tenants of the value system, in the formation of governments.

“In the spirit of Batho Pele, the measurement of the performance of coalitions must be about what we have done to improve the lives of the people for the better.”

In addition, he told Parliamentarians that coalition governments must work towards combating poverty and contribute towards building a prosperous society in which people have access to land as well as building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and united society. 

He said this form of government should also be bound together by a commitment to good governance, with no tolerance for corruption.

“The party that has won the largest votes should be allowed to lead the coalition and the executive positions should be allocated proportional to the votes obtained by the coalition partners. These principles will constitute the basis of the discussions at the national dialogue on coalition governments that we are going to convene in the next two months.”

The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) - which he chairs – provides support to municipalities to accelerate service delivery.

The IMC also aims to speedily build financially resilient and stable municipalities by identifying service delivery hotspots for intervention and ensuring the alignment of plans. This includes infrastructure development plans and operations with national, provincial and district in line with the District Development Model.

He invited all political parties in Parliament to dialogue on the principles of coalition governments across all spheres of government.

Meanwhile, he said the state is urgently attending to the issue of dysfunctional municipalities because of the current “loosely” arranged coalition governments.

“We want to build consensus because if we don't work together as political parties, we will fail our people, and our economy will collapse.”

Traditional leaders

He also spoke about the high rate of killings of traditional leaders, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, which remains a serious concern. 

He announced that the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the province has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Community Safety and Liaison to address this matter.

The police also participate in the workstream of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team that is dealing with this issue of the killings of traditional leaders, and rural safety in general.

“We are aware that in certain instances succession disputes create tension within the Institution of traditional leadership.”

As government, he said, they will continue to work closely with the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders, through the Intern-Ministerial Task Team, to address challenges that affect the stability of the institution and development in traditional communities. –