The political power-plays in the hung metros of Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) last week do not bode well for stability in several local councils in the run-up to the election next year. The poll is set to be closely fought, with the possibility of coalitions at both provincial and national levels. But events in the councils raise questions about the political maturity of the parties entering into these complex political arrangements. After months of attempting to remove Athol Trollip as mayor of NMB, a clutch of smaller parties finally succeeded by outpoliticking the DA. A newly forged alliance between the EFF, ANC, UDM, African Independent Congress and the United Front pulled it off when a DA councillor, Mbulelo Manyati — who has since left the party — abstained from voting in support of DA speaker Jonathan Lawack. That was all it took to open the door to Trollip’s removal. Three days later in Tshwane, DA mayor Solly Msimanga escaped two motions of no confidence. In the firs...

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