The SA Communist Party (SACP) says it cannot guarantee support for its long standing alliance partner, the ANC, to form a coalition government in the sought after Metsimaholo Municipality in the Free State.
"It is not a given that because we are in alliance with the ANC, we will back the ANC," SACP's first deputy secretary Solly Mapaila said on Sunday.
The SACP leadership was speaking to the media following its annual augmented central committee meeting that also discussed the hung Metsimaholo Municipality.
The SACP independently contested elections for the first time in the municipality that includes the town of Sasolburg and Zamdela township.
It emerged as a kingmaker after winning three seats, giving it bargaining power over the ANC that it has accused of undermining the now fractured alliance.
5/ The #Metsimaholo suburban voting pattern is also interesting:— Dawie Scholtz (@DawieScholtz) November 30, 2017
DA: 71% (-6)
FF+: 10% (+4)
ANC: 9% (-)
EFF: 5% (+3)
The DA lost some votes on its right flank to FF+.
7/ Finally, #Metsimaholo's implications for Gau 2019. It's clear that there is discontent with the ANC. If the township voting pattern shifts by as little as 2-5% against the ANC it will be fatal in Gau. Last night it shift by 17% against it.— Dawie Scholtz (@DawieScholtz) November 30, 2017
The ANC is hyper-vulnerable in Gau.
The party says it will leave the decision on forming a coalition to those who voted for it and other organisations that partnered with them.
"Communities asked us to stand because of the real anti-ANC hostility in some sections of the community," SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said.
Some people said we will only vote for you if you don't enter into coalition with the ANC, so we have to take the decision back to the community.
Hitting out at Ace Magashule
He also launched a scathing attack on Free State premier and ANC chair Ace Magashule, saying the SACP had won the three seats despite "considerable destabilisation efforts by Magashule and his corporately captured Free State ANC faction".
The by-elections were held on Wednesday after the municipality collapsed when a coalition government between the DA, EFF and Metsimaholo Community Association fell through after just a year.
However, it is now back in the same precarious situation after the 2016 local government elections.
To govern, a party needs 22 seats, however the ANC got 16 seats, the DA dropped to 11 and the EFF retained its eight seats.
The SACP has ruled out a coalition with DA and EFF, while the EFF is unlikely to join forces with the ANC.
The ANC is likely to go begging the African Independent Congress, Metsimaholo Civic Association and Forum for Service Delivery, which got a seat each to help it form a coalition.
However, it would still need the SACP or EFF to reach the 22 seats required.
The DA is likely to also turn to the same smaller parties, the Freedom Front Plus that got one seat, and the EFF to meet the governing threshold.
The SACP said Magashule's ANC faction has threatened another re-run of the elections.
"It would give us much greater scope for campaigning this time around. However, plunging the Metsimaholo Municipality into prolonged paralysis for narrow party political electoral purposes would be a gravely irresponsible position to take," Nzimande said.