LISTEN | 'DA acting like a spoilt brat': Maile lashes out after DA torpedoes Lesufi's plans for an inclusive cabinet

01 July 2024 - 22:06
By Lizeka Tandwa
ANC Gauteng secretary Thembinkosi TK Nciza and  Lebogang Maile.
Image: VELI NHLAPO ANC Gauteng secretary Thembinkosi TK Nciza and Lebogang Maile.

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi has once again postponed the announcement of his executive after a deadlock with the DA.

This is the second time Lesufi has postponed an announcement after an impasse in negotiations with the DA.

TimesLIVE understands that the Gauteng premier was prepared to appoint the DA in three posts in his executive. However, the DA refused, arguing the party was entitled to more.

The ANC in the province is said to be in talks with the MK Party, which voted with the party in Lesufi's election and seconded its speaker Morakane Mosupye in June.

Just an hour before Lesufi was meant to announce his executive on Monday evening, it emerged that the DA had instructed its provincial leaders to boycott the announcement.

Lesufi then received a call from Luthuli House ordering him to postpone his announcement, the second time the ANC headquarters had blocked him.

In an impromptu media briefing after these developments, the ANC’s provincial executive committee said Lesufi would announce his executive on Tuesday.

Its provincial secretary TK Nciza said the leadership had deadlocked with the DA during negotiations on several occasions due to “unreasonable demands” by the blue party.

“But as the ANC, we were ready to announce. In fact the premier is even ready to do that now. But as you would know, that we are led.

“So if the leadership says, ‘hold on, let's engage, because negotiations are not easy,’ we have to follow what the leadership says to us [and] go and persuade and engage. Because this is not about just the appointment of MECs, but it is also about the stability of the legislature and many other things that would have to be considered,” he said.

Nciza said the provincial leadership was firm that it wanted to engage with other parties to form part of the government of provincial unity. He said the ANC would not be held at ransom by any party.

“Once a party comes and says, ‘don't bring this one, bring that one,’ and so on, we are not going to agree to such things.”

He said the DA was the only party which the ANC in the province had difficulty in negotiating with, adding that no agreement had been signed with the DA.

Provincial leader Lebogang Maile lashed out at the DA, arguing that it was negotiating with the ANC via the media. He said the ANC had formed a government of provincial unity with other parties and planned to go ahead with or without the DA. 

“So the DA must not create an impression that they have boycotted, because, as the secretary is saying, we have deadlocked with them, and once we deadlocked, we then finalised with other parties. So from where we are sitting, we don't have an agreement with the DA so they are not boycotting anything. They're just trying to create attention for themselves,” Maile said.

He said the ANC was guided by the framework which said all parties should be invited to form a government.

“We have concluded with other parties, it's only the DA that is acting like a spoilt brat,” Maile said.

Tensions between the ANC and DA in the province could spill over to the government of national unity. The GNU partnership between the two parties was already under strain after intense negotiations that had the potential to collapse in the last two weeks. 

However, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and DA leader John Steenhuisen eventually managed to find each other with the DA accepting six posts in government instead of its original demand of 12. 

Deputy provincial secretary Tasneem Motara said the ANC had tried to be accommodating to the DA.

She said Lesufi was disappointed that for a second time he was not able to proceed with the announcement and commence his government.

Nciza added it was engaging with the EFF in the province. The ANC in the province had previously kept a working relationship with the EFF, co-governing in the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metros. The two parties had intended to go into a coalition. However, the EFF failed to reach the numbers needed to boost the ANC to form a government. 

In June, Ekurhuleni mayor Doctor Xhakaza fired EFF provincial chair Nkululeko Dunga as his MMC of finance.  

The axing angered EFF leader Julius Malema, who called for his immediate reinstatement, threatening to pull out of coalitions with the ANC across the country. 

Days later, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the GNU agreement would filter down to metros, a decision that was made in consultation with the DA.