Flash Briefing: 2021 Local Elections likely to usher in coalitions; coalition politics; Eskom corruption still rife says de Ruyter

  • With 97% of the ballots counted, the Democratic Alliance and ActionSA, together with support of natural allies, appear to have won sufficient votes to take control of Johannesburg and Tshwane, SA’s commercial heartland and its capital city. Critically, the business-friendly political parties appear to have secured enough votes to rule these two key cities without having to include the radical socialists of the EFF or the formerly dominant ANC. They are among many South African municipalities where the ANC is likely to lose control in what is sure to be reflected upon as the county’s watershed election which ushered in an era of coalition politics.
  • With attention now on political parties forming coalitions, the ANC has said it is willing to work with any political party to form a stable government in the 52 municipalities with no outright majority. However, it has also made it clear that it is “not desperate” and will gladly be in opposition benches. The DA is looking for stable coalitions but has generally ruled out the EFF from talks after the latter collapsed coalitions following the 2016 elections. The EFF has taken a more humble approach and called for egos to be set aside in the coming negotiations. Newcomer Action SA, however, says it won’t work with the ANC.
  • Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has admitted that corruption is still rife at the power utility and that patronage networks still exist, saying it is clear that the networks created during the state capture years are still active. Commenting on why corruption is still happening under his watch, De Ruyter said one man could not clean up the company. De Ruyter said incompetence and neglect by Eskom staff is one of the primary reasons for the recent bout of load-shedding. It included an operator at the Kusile power station ignoring a flashing light on a control panel that indicated a low oil level, which resulted in a power generation unit tripping.
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