With Mashaba out ANC attempts to get IFP in its corner for Joburg power grab

17 November 2019 - 00:01 By ZIMASA MATIWANE and APHIWE DEKLERK
IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa insists that there have been no official discussions between the ANC and the IFP relating to Johannesburg or any municipality in KZN.
IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa insists that there have been no official discussions between the ANC and the IFP relating to Johannesburg or any municipality in KZN.
Image: Gallo Images/Sunday Times/Sandile Ndlovu

The IFP is said to be holding the key the ANC desperately needs to the Johannesburg mayor's office, but is playing hardball in discussions on a power-exchange deal.

This is according to IFP and ANC officials who indicated that the two parties have been engaged in informal talks over the exchange of power that could affect the control of four municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal should the IFP grant the ANC power in Johannesburg.

ANC insiders said the party was banking on the support of the IFP, with the hope that the EFF sticks to its commitment to abstain when voting for former mayor Herman Mashaba's replacement is held.

The ANC is already in a working relationship with the African Independent Congress.

The power-sharing talks were sparked by the shock resignation of Mashaba last month. He is due to vacate his office at the end of this month.

ANC and IFP insiders who are privy to the discussions say the ANC in KZN wants to take over control of AbaQulusi local municipality, in the Zululand district, which is currently under the control of the IFP with the help of opposition parties, including the DA.

Sources said that in return the ANC would allow the IFP to rule in hung municipalities like the Mtubatuba and Jozini local municipalities, both in the uMkhanyakude district, and eDumbe local municipality in the Zululand district. The IFP is understood to be refusing to hand over AbaQulusi because it has the biggest budget of all the KZN municipalities it runs.

The power-sharing talks were sparked by the shock resignation of Mashaba last month

But IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa insists that there have been no official discussions between the ANC and the IFP relating to Johannesburg or any municipality in KZN.

"We have a working relationship on a number of municipalities with the DA and we remain committed to that," he said. "There is no official discussion between us and the ANC regarding any exchange of municipalities."

But Dada Morero, the ANC Johannesburg regional secretary, said the party had been holding talks with the IFP since its unsuccessful motions of no confidence in Mashaba prior to him stepping down.

He said the issue was now being handled by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to print.

Meanwhile, sources in the DA said finance MMC Funzi Ngobeni has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Mashaba. Ngobeni was recently elected chair of the DA in the Johannesburg region.

DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the federal executive was to meet today to decide who will take over from Mashaba.

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