As the counting of results for the 2016 Local Government Elections draws closer to an end, coalitions are becoming a reality for some metros and political parties are keeping their cards close to their chest.

But those who are willing to speak are saying they are keeping their options open.

The results in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the Democratic Alliance won a majority vote, are not good enough for the party to form a government in that municipality and therefore some kind of a coalition with other parties will be required.

The City of Tshwane and City of Johannesburg are also likely to head for that scenario where both the ANC and the DA were small percentages apart in terms of the votes the parties garnered in these cities.

DA spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme said on Friday the party was open to negotiations.

We have been saying that we are open to any negotiation; we are keeping our options open. We are willing to work with a political party that is willing to work for change in the municipalities that we have won a majority vote or where our support is needed, Van Damme said.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said his party has a policy of respecting the will of the voters and will look at voting trends when going into any coalition with any party.

The UDM helped the ANC in 2005 in KwaZulu-Natal in order for them to govern. We did the same for the DA in Cape Town so coalitions therefore are not a new phenomenon to use. We remain open to coalitions, said Holomisa.

I told ANC and DA that we can only finalise anything once the results have been announced. We have no conditions but we participate mainly after being influenced by the number of votes a party receives, you look at what the voters wanted. We have to justify why you form a coalition with a certain party, Holomisa added.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa was unwilling to discuss possible coalitions when approached for comment.

EFF leader Julius Malema told a press conference at the IEC results operation centre in Tshwane that his party has not been approached for a coalition and said the EFF would not approach any other party for a possible coalition. Malema did say that the doors remain open and the EFF would talk to any party that comes to negotiate.

By 5pm, the ANC was leading in the capital, Tshwane, with 42.72%, closely followed by the DA with 42.3%.

In Johannesburg, there was not much difference with ANC at 42.22% and the DA trailing behind by 41.36%. The EFF was just over 11% and 10% in Tshwane and Johannesburg respectively.

Although coalitions are not a new phenomenon in South African politics, judging by the results so far, the 2016 Municipal Elections are set to be a game changer. The ANC, the DA and the EFF will be major players in that game.

Observers are cautioning, however, that parties should go to coalitions with an open mind and clear about the rules that govern such coalitions. Any confusion and contradiction may have negative effects on the actual governance of a municipality and service delivery, something that would be detrimental to the citizens and voters.

The IEC has confirmed that the final announcement of the results will be made Saturday.


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