Julius Malema. Picture: ALON SKUY​
Julius Malema. Picture: ALON SKUY​

EFF leader Julius Malema has thrown down the gauntlet, saying his party will no longer vote with the DA or the ANC in all municipalities in SA, including the country's economic hub of Johannesburg.

On Tuesday, Malema said the EFF would participate in debates and make input in council meetings but “if anything requires voting, the EFF will abstain from voting”.

This could result in a stalemate in hung councils, especially in metros such as Johannesburg and Tshwane, as the DA and its coalition partners would now need the support of the ANC to pass ordinary decisions. 

The EFF emerged as kingmakers in the 2016 local government elections, and were instrumental in the installation of DA mayors in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay.

However, the far-left political party, which increased its support to 10.79% during the May 8 national election, later played an instrumental role in ousting the DA's Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip in 2018.

It argued at the time that it was not removing Trollip because he was corrupt but because it was symbolically “cutting the throat of whiteness”.

Ahead of the general election, when there seemed to be a possibility that Gauteng could end up being governed by a coalition, the EFF had said it would not work with the DA.

Later in May, after the elections, EFF had said it was in talks with the DA to install an EFF mayor in Tshwane, and members of the mayoral committee in the City of Johannesburg.

At the time, Malema described this as power-sharing, stating at that it would not call for a motion of no confidence in DA Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa as the party would like to take over in a manner that would not be chaotic.

“We are talking and we are not seeing any hostilities about a possibility of power-sharing. We will have a mayor in Tshwane, the DA will have MMCs in Tshwane. They will have a mayor in Joburg, we will have MMCs in Joburg,” Malema said at the time.

On Tuesday, Malema said that the DA “don't want to vote for us but they want us to vote for them”.

“We cannot keep on voting for people who can’t vote for us, power sharing means give and take. From 2016, still the DA doesn’t appreciate that [we voted for them],” he said.

Joburg's mayor, the DA's Herman Mashaba, has had a good working relationship with the EFF. Mashaba regularly praises the EFF for its input in the metro, most notably on the issue of insourcing.

“Mashaba is a good guy, we can have Mashaba as an EFF mayor,” Malema said.

“Maybe Mashaba is teaching us something, maybe our problems don’t need politicians, because Mashaba is not a politician. He doesn’t take a political attitude. He asks: ‘Can it work?’”

On Tshwane, where the EFF wanted to take over the seat of mayor from Stevens Mokgalapa, Malema said his party knew the metro was in the red.

“We wanted to demonstrate that we are the best government. You know what happened in Tshwane, every corrupt entrepreneur that was there under Sputla [former ANC mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa] is still doing business there.

“Nothing has changed … You need the EFF that knows these people to deal with them decisively.”

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za