DA welcomes Mashatile’s commitment to support coalition bills

The DA has welcomed deputy president Paul Mashatile’s endorsement of legislation to establish new amendment bills on coalition governments.

Mashatile expressed his support during a session in the National Assembly on Thursday, where he was questioned about proposed changes to the legislation governing coalitions.

DA MP Siviwe Gwarube had asked whether the deputy president would back the party’s private member’s bill in the absence of an existing legal framework to stabilise coalitions.

She said the DA has taken the initiative by introducing three pieces of legislation, which have already been published for comment and are expected to be presented to Parliament in the coming weeks.

According to Gwarube, these bills aim to amend the Constitution and the Municipal Structure’s Act of 1998 to establish a legal framework for stable and accountable coalition governments at local, provincial, and national levels.

Gwarube said the proposed amendments focus on the following three main areas:

  1. Implementing the electoral threshold based on international best practices to stabilise the political landscape by addressing the problem of fragmented coalition governments.
  2. Extend the negotiation and swearing-in period after an election. She said currently limited to 14 days, the bills suggest increasing this timeframe to 30 days for all levels of governance, including local, provincial, and national.
  3. Restricting motions of no confidence by imposing limitations on their frequency and conditions. Gwarube said under the proposed amendments, these motions would be permitted only once a year, and specific criteria would need to be met, such as providing evidence of legal violations and objective gross misconduct.

“When I questioned deputy president Mashatile this afternoon about his party’s view on these Bills, he conceded that there is a need for a legal framework and that the provisions in the DA’s Bills speak to the nub of the crisis of instability.

“He committed to bringing stakeholders together – political parties in Parliament, SALGA and government – to adopt policy and legislative interventions,” said Gwarube.

She added: “We trust that the ANC will put petty party differences aside and support these Bills in Parliament. It is critical that we put together coalition governments that are stable, clean and accountable. This will be especially important as we head towards the 2024 elections where the ANC is likely to lose its national majority and majority in a few provinces. Parliament must ready itself for a post-ANC South Africa.”

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