ANC Turned Down by EFF in Coalition Talks for S. African Cities

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has been turned down by the country’s third-biggest political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, in its bid to form coalitions to retain control of some of the country’s biggest cities.

The ANC is competing with its main rival, the Democratic Alliance, to ally with the EFF to control Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city, and Pretoria, its capital, after its worst-ever performance in an election cost it its majority in the two cities.

“The main player that can make a difference in the negotiations for the metros is the EFF,” Gwede Mantashe, ANC secretary general, said by phone on Wednesday. “They have turned us down but we are still talking.”

Earlier Johannesburg’s Business Day newspaper reported that the EFF has decided not to form coalitions or vote for mayoral positions and will solely focus on policy issues, citing people it didn’t identify. The EFF will on Wednesday hold a press conference to announce its plans, as will the DA.

James Selfe, the DA’s federal executive chairman, declined to comment while the EFF couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Last week a senior DA leader said it wanted to conclude an arrangement with the EFF to allow it to run Johannesburg and appoint a mayor and in exchange it would back the EFF in the platinum-mining hub of Rustenburg. The leader asked not to be identified because the proposal hadn’t been made public.

The ANC won 44.55 percent of the vote in Johannesburg in Aug. 3 local elections while the DA got 38.37 percent and the EFF 11.09 percent. In Tshwane, a municipal area that includes Pretoria, the DA won 43.15 percent, the ANC 41.25 percent and the EFF 11.63 percent.