EFF 'plays hard to get' after DA names preferred replacement for Mashaba

24 November 2019 - 00:02 By APHIWE DEKLERK
The DA's Funzi Ngobeni has been chosen by the party to replace Herman Mashaba as Joburg mayor.
The DA's Funzi Ngobeni has been chosen by the party to replace Herman Mashaba as Joburg mayor.
Image: Twitter/@FunzelaZA

The EFF and its leader Julius Malema have gone incommunicado on the DA, ignoring all communication from the party over its desperation to retain the Johannesburg mayoral seat.

The DA's control of SA's biggest metro faces collapse following the resignation of mayor Herman Mashaba, who will serve his last day in office on Wednesday.

The council is scheduled to elect a new mayor the next day. The DA has nominated finance MMC Funzi Ngobeni, pictured, as Mashaba's replacement.

But DA insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak publicly about the matter, said the EFF, which gave the DA support to control Johannesburg in a coalition government, is playing "hard to get".

They said Malema and his party are simply ignoring calls and other forms of communication from the DA's negotiating team.

The team is led by the party's governance unit chief, James Selfe, who said yesterday that the party is in the early stages of talks with the EFF, which he described as "detractive".

"It's pretty well always been like this," said Selfe.

Malema proposed at a press conference this week that the EFF take control of Joburg and give the DA full control of Tshwane. A source with intimate knowledge of the discussions said the DA does not favour this option.

Another source said the DA team had met with all other Joburg coalition partners to secure support ahead of Thursday's crucial vote and "they are all on board. We will stick to the original coalition agreement."

The DA's federal executive, which met in Joburg this weekend, approved a decision to court Malema's party for support once more. This is after a DA organisational review report denounced the partnership with the EFF.

The guys in Gauteng [IFP] are rogue. We are speaking with the IFP nationally and the guys in KwaZulu-Natal assured us that the agreement stands
DA insider

Selfe said of the EFF negotiations: "These things happen like that but we will follow up in due course . in 2016, the arrangement came together literally a day before the vote, so it's not unusual."

Turning to reports that the ANC in Gauteng is courting the IFP for support in Joburg in exchange for control of some municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, another DA insider who was at the meeting said the party is on good terms with the IFP's national leaders.

"The guys in Gauteng [IFP] are rogue. We are speaking with the IFP nationally and the guys in KwaZulu-Natal assured us that the agreement stands," said the insider.

"We have made it clear to the IFP that if they side with the ANC in Johannesburg, we will pull out of our arrangements in the municipalities in KZN."

He said they were discussing terms of agreement with the IFP, but were hopeful that the parties will stick to their 2016 deal.

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