We are stronger as a unit, say Nelson Mandela Bay smaller parties

COPE, UP and PA decided to work together in negotiations to give them an edge

We are stronger as a unit, say Nelson Mandela Bay smaller parties

15 August 2016

Port Elizabeth – Three of the smaller political parties in Nelson Mandela Bay are pooling their resources to negotiate with either the DA or the ANC to form a coalition in council.

The parties - Cope, United Front and Patriotic Alliance - have decided working together in negotiations would give them an edge.

They now hope the other parties, including the EFF, ACDP, AIC, will enter their “coalition block” in their bid to show a united front.

The smaller parties in Nelson Mandela Bay hold 13 of the 120 seats in council combined. The three parties have one seat each in council.

The ANC, which has 50 seats, needs 11 of those seats to get the majority in council, while the DA needs four.

UF regional secretary Mkhuseli Mtsila told News24 the parties had decided to form a coalition block so that they could negotiate as one with both parties.

So far, the group is not leaning towards any party, but negotiations are ongoing, he said.

“We decided to form this block with the three parties to start with, because we are stronger as a unit. This way whoever wants to negotiate with us is talking to a united opposition,” he said.

This was part of their objective to do what the electorate had tasked them to do.

Hope to woo more parties

The three parties announced their unity this weekend in Nelson Mandela Bay while hoping to woo other parties to make for a stronger unit.

PA Eastern Cape leader Marlon Daniels said they had decided to work together because they had more bargaining power this way.

“The bigger parties sometimes use divide-and-rule tactics. Because we are united, this won’t work,” he said.

It is good for democracy, he said, and for the country to have a coalition government, and they would do their best to ensure a smooth transition.

They have expanded their block to other parties and were still waiting for responses, he said.

Positions promised

But there were some who were only interested in positions rather than what the electorate wanted, Daniels said, making it harder to negotiate with them as they had already been promised positions.

“Certain individuals are focused on self-gain,” he said.

Mtsila said the other parties had to wait for their national counterparts before committing to the block.

Daniels said the smaller parties had demands of their own, but they were aware that they could not get everything they wanted.

What they aimed for during negotiations, he said, were “bread and butter issues”.

“There are people who live in shacks everywhere and those to me are like modernised dog kennels.”

He said the parties also had common ground in their manifestos, which included the eradication of shacks.

This article first appeared on News24, see here