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MVC calls on parties to outline any coalition arrangements

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Civil society organisation My Vote Counts has outlined its position on coalition governments as the country heads to the polls on 29 May.

The organisation was formed in 2012 out of campaigns by civil society bodies against corruption and the hollowing out of South Africa's democracy.

My Vote Counts said on Friday that as coalition governments are likely to emerge at national and provincial levels after the elections, it has listed issues around coalition arrangements that it said it would and would not support.

MVC is in support of:

  • Coalition agreements being made public before an election;
  • Extending the time to form a government after an election at the local level;
  • Insulating the public service from changes in government when coalitions collapse; and
  • Changing the legal nature of councils to the executive committee system.

MVC does not support:

  • Introducing electoral thresholds at any level of government;  
  • Limiting motions of no confidence in any legislature
  • Creating a body to mediate disputes between parties in coalitions. 

"Over the past year, there has been a growing narrative emerging, predominantly from the governing ANC, that coalitions are a problem, arguing that having a single party in power is preferable.

"This is despite the ANC being in multiple coalitions at the local level," MVC said in a statement on Friday.

It said it looks increasingly likely that the ANC will need to enter coalitions, in some provinces and even nationally, to maintain power. 

"Instead of laying the blame for governance failures on coalition government itself, we need to interrogate why coalitions don't always function well, why they break down, why they don't deliver.

"We do need a legal framework, albeit a limited one.

"But all of this will be undermined if there is not a different approach to our politics, one premised on the public good," the organisation said.

The voter should be the most important element in this equation. As we approach 29th May, MVC will write to all parties contesting the elections to demand information on their potential coalition arrangements.

"This is crucial information to vote from a more informed position and to properly exercise our political rights."