SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.   Picture: JASON BOSWELL.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande. Picture: JASON BOSWELL.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) is willing to enter into a coalition with the ANC in Metsimaholo municipality in the Free State provided the governing party meets its "conditions".

These conditions include a commitment to respect the people, fight corruption and tackle corporate capture, the ANC’s alliance partner said on Sunday.

The highly contested re-election of the hung municipality, which was put under administration and dissolved after it had failed to pass its budget, took place last week.

The ANC took a huge hit in electoral support, while the SACP won much of the support the ANC had lost. Horse trading between parties is set to intensify this week as the municipality would need a coalition to govern, as no party succeeded in winning a majority of votes.

The SACP contested the by-election on its own for the first time. The ANC won 16 seats compared with 19 seats it won in the 2016 municipal elections. The DA won 11 seats, the EFF 8, and the SACP 3 seats.

If the ANC can humble itself to the masses in Metsimaholo we may consider working with it. We are in a dilemma as we are in alliance with the ANC

General secretary Blade Nzimande said the party would be guided by communities on what should happen in the municipality. "Communities there asked us to stand. There is a real and serious anti-ANC hostilities in sections of those communities. Some of the people were saying we would vote for you provided you are not going to enter into alliance with the ANC. But we have said to comrades: go and take this issue to the communities and engage them."

Nzimande was addressing journalists at the SACP’s end-of-year central committee meeting in Kempton Park.

He lashed out at ANC Free State chairman and Premier Ace Magashule, saying the SACP win was achieved in the face of considerable "destabilisation efforts and threats" emanating from Magashule and his "corporately captured" Free State faction.

First deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila was more blunt about the SACP’s position.

"If the ANC can humble itself to the masses in Metsimaholo we may consider working with it. We are in a dilemma as we are in alliance with the ANC."

Nzimande made it clear that the SACP would not enter into a coalition with the DA.

Meanwhile, the DA has asked the MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs in the Free State to add two more seats to Metsimaholo. The council has 42 seats in total and for a majority government 22 seats would be necessary.

James Selfe, chairman of the DA’s federal executive, said on Sunday that the party had lodged an objection at the Electoral Commission of SA and the MEC in the Free State. In terms of the proportional distribution of seats the ANC is only entitled to 14, but the party won 16 wards and received 16 seats in council.

Selfe contended the seats were taken from the DA and the SACP, who should have each gotten one seat more in council.

In these circumstances, Selfe said, the MEC was supposed to increase the number of seats. "That is what we have asked the MEC to do as a matter of urgency. Because obviously that changes the coalition politics."

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