South African political policy analyst Somadoda Fikeni says Wednesday’s revelations by the country’s three leading opposition parties — the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on their coalition decisions will fundamentally reconfigure the South African political landscape.

Describing these announcements as epoch-making, Fikeni says the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has been pushed to the periphery following the local government elections held across the country earlier this month.

Speaking to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Wednesday, Fikeni said multi-party coalitions might result in indecisiveness and vulnerability in terms of the agility of political parties.

“But at the same time, the outcome of these elections is putting everybody into a space where they have to account and they may feel vulnerable, they will not take any voting for granted.”

Meanwhile, the ANC and its partners in the Tripartite Alliance — The South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) — have reacted with dismay to the EFF’s decision to throw its weight behind the DA, describing it as setback for the national revolution.

Aug 3 was a watershed local government election in South Africa’s democracy and its outcome h has changed the country’s political landscape as opposition parties banded together to force the ANC out of power in several metropolitan municipalities and municipalities.

ANC Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said: “The principle of engaging on coalition was never about the alliance. Coalition was agreeing on issues that enhance service delivery and we will continue to do so. It does not mean you must be a governing part in an area to raise service delivery. We will do so to become an effective opposition.”

The SACP sent a strong message to the ANC. Its Deputy General Secretary, Solly Mapaila, said: “We must deal with the problems of division inside the movement. Factionalism, for instance which have tainted the capacity and the unity of the movement. We must literally and clearly fight against corruption, deal with corrupt individuals across all the levels. It does not matter what position you hold in the organization.”

SACP Spokesperson Alex Mashilo said: “The ANC must walk the talk, failure to do so, we are going have serious problems. It has met in its National Executive Committee (NEC) and agreed to root out problems of factionalism, starting from within the rank of the NEC itself. It was not the first time. Resolutions of the NGC were very clear about this factionalism was a problem.”

Cosatu predicts the alliance between opposition parties will be short-lived. Its president, Sdumo Dlamini, said: “They are saying as we have said before, this is a warning shot, be careful, change. I am happy the ANC took that message from the NEC statement. They must act to that introspection with its ranks.”

Cosatu said that by working with the DA, the EFF had betrayed its supporters.

Meanwhile, the newly formed coalition in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipalities — one of the eight metros covering the major cities of the country — says it is going to prioritise rooting out corruption and ensuring excellent service delivery.

The dawn of a new government in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, which includes the city of Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape Province, saw the ANC being stripped of political control of the metro.

The DA mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip, is expected to be elected mayor on Thursday as the DA takes political control with the help of smallerparties.

The DA has formed a coalition government in this metro with the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Congress of the People (COPE) to wrestle the control of the municipality from the ANC.