The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng is a little delulu, as the youngsters would say. The provincial leadership under Panyaza Lesufi has followed a different script to the national structures by wanting a coalition with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in spite of the fact that such a coalition at the local government level was a disaster, especially in Johannesburg. Following the elections, the party landed just 28 out of the 80 seats in the Gauteng legislature, and the assumption was that it would follow the lead of national and KwaZulu Natal in partnering with the Democratic Alliance (DA), which has 22 seats. Lesufi, however, couldn’t come to an agreement with the DA.

Instead he’s opted for an unstable minority government, appointing a cabinet that holds just 33 out of the 80 seats in the legislature. This means it is vulnerable to votes of no confidence and will be reliant on opposition parties like the DA to pass their budget and other decisions. 

Lesufi finally announced his new cabinet yesterday following two postponements, given the ultimately unsuccessful negotiations between the ANC and DA over cabinet portfolio allocations. 

Solly Msimanga, provincial leader of the DA and DA Federal Council chair Helen Zille said the ANC initially offered just one position, going up to three, but no sight of who would get the other seven, leading to a lack of trust.

Lesufi’s side of the story, meanwhile, is that the DA had withdrawn its earlier agreement, and when it returned to the negotiating table, the ANC had already made agreements with other parties. You snooze, you lose, we guess?

At least the EFF, al-Jama-ah and MK Party aren’t part of the Gauteng lineup – the first two caused havoc in previous local coalitions. 

The portfolios in the new cabinet reveal a lineup heavily skewed in favour of the ANC:

  • Treasury & Economic Development: Lebogang Maile (ANC)
  • Infrastructure Development & Cooperative Governance: Jacob Mamabolo (ANC)
  • Health: Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko (ANC)
  • Human Settlements: Tasneem Motara (ANC)
  • Roads and Transport: Kedibone Diale-Tlabela (ANC)
  • Education, Sports, Arts, Culture & Recreation: Matome Chiloane (ANC)
  • Social Development: Faith Mazibuko (ANC)
  • Agriculture & Rural Development: Vuyiswa Ramokgopa (Rise Mzansi)
  • Environment: Sheila Mary Peters (PA)
  • eGovernment: Bonginkosi Dlamini (IFP)

As political analyst Matlala Setlhalogile puts it, the Gauteng ANC has returned the same leadership that was repudiated by the voters in the May election. “Having eight representatives, including the premier, in the province’s executive is simple entitlement. The party has, in essence, allocated itself almost 73% of the province’s executive, well over double its level of electoral support. The makeup of the executive could even be construed as a subversion of democratic electoral outcomes as the party-led GPU does not even constitute 50%+1 in the province.” 

It’s going to be another unstable coalition ride. 😢