coalition DA KZN Gauteng inciting violence riots protests

DA leader John Steenhuisen. Image via: Veli Nhlapo / Gallo

Coalition Watch: Steenhuisen explains DA data-driven approach to selecting coalition partners

John Steenhuisen said the DA hopes to start coalition negotiations soon. It will require its partners to sign an agreement that will be made public. Steenhuisen is adamant that the party will not get into bed with the EFF.

coalition DA KZN Gauteng inciting violence riots protests

DA leader John Steenhuisen. Image via: Veli Nhlapo / Gallo

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said the party’s coalition partners after the 2021 Local Government Elections would have to sign an agreement that will be made public. He said the aim is to create stable governments that will last for five years.


Steenhuisen, speaking from the IEC Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Tshwane on Wednesday, said vote counting has been a bit slower than expected and the DA would have liked to be in huddles with other parties speaking about potential coalitions negotiations already.

As things stand, the party will have to form part of a coalition because of the dozens of hung councils it finds itself in. In the eight metropolitan municipalities it is competing in, it has only secured a majority in Cape Town. The ANC, meanwhile seems set to take over Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape. Everything else will likely be led by a coalition government.


Steenhuisen said that the DA has a centre at the Sheraton Hotel that is crunching the numbers and doing projections, adding that the party is confident that it will have a clearer picture of the “lie of the land” by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.

“We’ve developed a matrix – that we’ve been working on for the last three months – for each municipality in South Africa.

“What we will then do is input the figures that we project into the matrix and what that will do is give us the various permutations that will be possible within those municipalities and the various coalition options,” said Steenhuisen.

The DA coalition negotiating team and its Federal Executive will use the data from the matrix and determine the best political partnerships in the various municipalities. It will be “the best option for us, for the residents of the city and for a stable coalition,” said Steenhuisen.


Steenhuisen was adamant that the DA would not enter into an unstable coalition. Thus far, it has only absolutely ruled out working with one– the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

“The situation we’ve had in Tshwane over the last five years has been incredibly difficult. Running a minority government, living between council meetings, it’s very difficult to do so.

“I’ll be looking to create stable solid coalitions that will be able to go the distance and not fall apart from one council meeting to the next,” said the DA leader.

The DA’s coalition partners will have to sign a coalition agreement, according to Steenhuisen. He said the party’s lawyers have spent the last two months drafting the agreement.

The DA will approach “the better permutations” with the agreement and enter into talks. The parties will also be given an opportunity to provide input. Steenhuisen said he hopes these talks will start on Thursday.

“We’re not going to rush into knee-jerk reactions or hasty decisions. This needs to be a deliberate decision that goes the distance over the next five years.

“The metros have been characterised by instability over the last five years and what we are going out there for is a stable coalition that is going to be able to deliver services and last that distance,” said Steenhuisen.

Once all its coalition partners have agreed and signed the document, the DA intends to make it public so that residents understand the coalition’s objectives and its plans over the five year period as well as what the “red lines” are for the party, as Steenhuisen put it.


“Interference in tenders will not be tolerated, corruption and maladministration will not be tolerated, cadre deployment will not be tolerated.

“If any of the parties cross those red lines, they must understand that we will walk away from that coalition and we want people to know upfront what the red lines for us will be. I’m sure there will be red lines for other political parties as well,” said Steenhuisen.

He said the DA hopes to start a new era of stable government but if negotiations with coalition partners fall flat, the party is prepared to take up an opposition seat in any municipality and serve its residents.

“There’s only one thing worse than losing an election and going into an election, forming a coalition and then governing badly. I don’t want that to be the story in five years time when we go and ask people for their votes again.

“I think these results, across the board, show us what is possible and that we can bring the ANC below 50 percent in the national and provincial elections,” concluded Steenhuisen.

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