The EFF's impending coalition with the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) has come under fire for being politically fickle, but experts believe the ANC has the potential to put together a clean administration, despite issues it faced in the past.
The EFF is holding both the ANC and the DA to ransom in the NMB municipality, planning to kick mayor Athol Trollip to the curb, while threatening to leave the city's administration defunct if the ANC does not provide a mayoral replacement that meets its standards.
In an interview with HuffPost, Crispian Olver, author of "How To Steal A City: Battle For Nelson Mandela Bay", said he believes the ANC is capable of establishing a clean government in the municipality, despite its checkered history.
Olver, a former ANC member dispatched as part of an intervention team to the area that blew the lid on rampant corruption within previous administrations, said the party is "capable of putting together a credible mayoral administration".
All I can say to the EFF is: QHUBEKANI. 2019 is coming, and the voters of Nelson Mandela Bay won't forget. Dala what you must.— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) March 8, 2018
"They would have to have undergone a proper introspection. On the EFF, I think they are being inconsistent, first voting with the DA to remove the ANC, and now changing their position. It sounds like the EFF have woken up and decided that the DA is a white reactionary organisation all of a sudden," Olver said.
"My primary concern is whether this is a principled coalition founded on the principle of good governance, or is it an unholy alliance?"
Tensions in the DA's informal coalition with smaller parties grew last year, when the DA moved to axe United Democratic Movement (UDM) member and deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani (who faces allegations of corruption). Then, at a national level, the EFF's Julius Malema made good his threat to "punish" the DA for voting against the party's parliamentary motion for land expropriation without compensation. A vote of no confidence in Trollip has now been tabled by the EFF, and is set down for April 6.
"The two biggest problems I found in Nelson Mandela Bay are interference in the process of appointments of officials, and interference in supply-chain processes to award tenders to companies providing kickbacks. Citizens of Port Elizabeth had an administration that delivered substandard or no service at all," Olver said.
"But voters have shown they can't be fooled. The only sustainable way to win back voter confidence is to root out corruption and stop political interference in the administration."
After the 2016 local government elections, because no party held a majority, the EFF, UDM and Cope threw their weight behind the DA to take the metro from the ANC. But five parties that each hold a single seat in the municipality could now swing the balance of power either way, even if the EFF and UDM side with the ANC.