End coalition farce now, before it is too late

End coalition farce now, before it is too late Two significant events related to the country’s multi-party coalitions occurred this past week. In Tshwane, a new mayor was installed. DA councillor Cilliers Brink now wears the mayoral chain.

In Ekurhuleni, the executive mayor Tanya Campbell lost her diadem, not for the first time, after a vote of no confidence. Less than a year ago, the same fate befell her, and she temporarily lost her mayorship. We do not know what the future holds for her now.

The question, though, is for how long should this farce be allowed to continue before intervention is sought. It is not as if the national and provincial governments have no authority to stop this madness.

Could it be that there is no will, energy and the wherewithal to do the right thing? Solutions, it seems, elude our government. What might the citizenry be thinking?

President Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to be cursed by posterity if poor governance at municipality level is allowed to persist. The premiers are equally likely to be looked askance by future generations.

If we think former president Jacob Zuma messed up, it appears the worst is yet to come. The collapse of governance in metros and municipalities might be a precursor of what might happen in the future. Imagine what kind of future this country might have if multi-party coalition’s shaky governance were to repeat itself after the 2024 national general elections. A scary prospect, we think.

Something drastic must happen. Yes, multi-party coalitions have their own characteristics, but the instability in coalition arrangements is a cause for serious concern. The implications of failing and limping local governments are not only real but also dire.

We dare say, a possible fomenting of a mini revolution of discontent and a restive citizenry could be in the pipeline.

If, because of dysfunction, service delivery suffers, what kind of reaction can be expected from a restive citizenry? Ramaphosa knows this very well. It is the ANC that was at the forefront of the struggle for justice in this country in the 1970s through the 1990s, when ungovernability became the call of his party articulated through the voice of Oliver Tambo. Where government appears to close its eyes to the cries and concerns of communities, the only option open to the people might be to adopt a negative stance towards the governing party.

That time might be now. The leadership must play a significant role to quell the embers of discontent – and avert what may evolve into an unpleasant political scenario.

Desmond Tutu, before the Soweto June 16, 1976 students unrest broke out, wrote an impassioned letter to the country’s apartheid state president, PW Botha, warning the regime about the discontent that was brewing. No one took notice. The riots that claimed the lives of many followed.

The revolution to unseat the apartheid regime began.

Today, the unstable multi-party coalitions provide us with that challenge, and with the service delivery question lingering, it is in the best interests of the ANC-led government to provide the country with solutions.

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