Durban - Despite a consensus that the deal between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the African National Congress (ANC) on hung municipalities in KZN will leave them out in the cold, the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) and the National Freedom Party (NFP) remain unfazed.
If the deal is eventually given the green light by the ANC's provincial executive committee (PEC) parties such as the ABC and the NFP will be adversely affected.
This comes as the PEC which was still locked in an urgent meeting in Durban by late Thursday.
In the deal between the IFP and the ANC, both parties reached an agreement that will allow each of them to form a government where they hold majority seats.
Announcing the deal on Wednesday, IFP president, Velenkosini Hlabisa, pointed out two factors that influenced their decision.
The first one was that during negotiations, some parties who saw themselves as kingmakers in hung municipalities made outrageous ultimatums, like demanding mayoral and speaker positions. Hlabisa said that would have amounted to subverting the will of the people.
Moreover, he said having learnt from history how coalitions tend to render some municipalities unstable, thus crippling service delivery, they opted for this deal which has raised eyebrows.
Prior to that, the IFP said it was not going to work with the ANC as it was dishonest in the past and voters had rejected at the polls. Working with it would be defying the voters' will and bringing it back to local governments via a dark back door.
Resigned to the fate that it was not going to get any support from the IFP, DA and ActionSA, the ANC kicked off talks with smaller parties.
Among the parties they engaged were the NFP and ABC.
Part of the preliminary deal with the NFP was that the governing party was going to help it to clinch eDumbe (PaulPietersburg) and Nongoma municipalities in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
In return, the NFP was going to help the ANC in municipalities like eThekwini, Mthonjaneni (Melmoth) and Abaqulusi (Vryheid). With the IFP-ANC deal, the NFP stands to lose councils like eDumbe, Nongoma, Aabaqulusi and Mthonjaneni, which had gone to them earlier.
Despite all this, the secretary-general of the NFP, Canaan Mdletshe said all was not lost and people must hold their horses as the IFP-ANC arrangement does not give them sleepless nights.
“We have noted the deal between the two parties. As the organisation, this deal is between the two and while it might have some implications to a certain extent, it doesn't give us sleepless nights. We are continuing with our mission of engaging those that we share similar ideologies with and we are still on course to keep forging a working relationship with certain parties.
“And it's advisable that people should not rush into celebrating or popping (open) champagnes. The road ahead is still very long and a lot can still happen over the next few days. It's not over until all the councils have been inaugurated,” he said.
In the unsigned deal with the ABC, which is led by its former member, mayor of Umvoti (Greytown) and former funder, Philani “PG” Mavundla, the ANC was to surrender the entire top political positions of the municipality in return for it being backed in six municipalities like eThekwini, Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg), Alfred Duma (Ladysmith).
Mavundla said it was not was over and in case the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal gives the deal which was negotiated at national level a nod, they will be fine with it.
“As things stand, and as far as we know, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, as publicly said by Nhlakanipho Ntombela (provincial spokesperson), they don’t know about the deal. So we are still waiting for the ANC to come back to us and conclude the deal and we are expecting to conclude our talks on Friday (today). Even if they decided to go ahead with the IFP deal, we will be fine and we shall be fine if they stick to what have agreed upon on a preliminary basis,” Mavundla said.