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2024 ELECTIONS

Divergent policy positions may hinder potential ANC-DA coalition talks to form a national government

Divergent policy positions may hinder potential ANC-DA coalition talks to form a national government
Nomvula Monkonyane and Helen Zille at the IEC National Results Operations Centre (ROC) at Gallagher Estate on 31 May 2024 in Midrand, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle)

With coalition talks officially in full swing, the ANC will have to find a suitable partner with which to form a national government. However, the possibility of the party working with the DA and giving John Steenhuisen the deputy president position could further divide the already fractured ANC.

The possibility of the ANC collaborating with the DA could soon become a reality. The parties’ combined support comes up to more than 60%, which would see them dominate the National Assembly. If their partnership is extended to provinces, they pose a serious threat to other parties.

However, a group within the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is firmly against this move. Daily Maverick understands that there has been robust discussion on the NEC’s WhatsApp group about the divergent policy positions of the two parties.

The DA is against the implementation of the National Health Insurance Act in its current form and does not believe in Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, which has been one of the ANC’s key tools for redress.

The DA also contested the signing of the ​​Basic Education Laws Amendment (Bela) Bill in its current form.

The DA’s flag-burning advert during election campaigning also showed how the two parties lack compatibility. The advert, depicting the national flag burning and then being reassembled, caused a stir, with the ANC being at the forefront of condemning the official opposition. 

DA could reject Mashatile

DA leader John Steenhuisen’s only opportunity to be the Deputy President would be in a government of national unity (GNU), where he would share the position with Paul Mashatile. 

There was a similar agreement during SA’s transition to democracy where both Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk were leaders of government business. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cool heads and political maturity are needed as we enter this volatile period  

Except, it is likely that the DA will not want to work with Mashatile or anyone who has adverse findings against them by the Zondo Commission.

The DA formally filed criminal charges against Mashatile earlier in 2024. The party said the Deputy President was part of a “web of nepotism and family patronage” which involved his son-in-law.

The DA also submitted a formal complaint to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests that Mashatile had breached the members’ code of conduct. They alleged he failed to disclose registrable interests and provided the registrar with “incorrect or misleading” details. 

The ANC might also have to act against three of its members who face adverse findings by the Zondo Commission.

The party decided to keep the names of Malusi Gigaba, David Mahlobo and Zizi Kodwa on its parliamentary lists until they are charged. This is in line with the party’s step-aside guidelines.

However, recent reports revealed that Kodwa – who is the minister of sports, arts and culture – is expected to appear in the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court in Ekurhuleni on Wednesday to face charges of corruption.

It was alleged that he accepted bribes totalling about R1.7-million from businessman and former EOH boss Jehan Mackay. The National Prosecuting Authority has yet to confirm whether Kodwa will appear in court.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections dashboard

The ANC will hold its National Working Committee and NEC meetings over the next few days to mull over the best option for the party.

Exclusive: ANC discussion documents tabled ahead of power-sharing talks — one favours ANC-DA-IFP

“The African National Congress (ANC) confirms it will be holding a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to decide on the Constitution of the government this week. 

“The Secretary-General, Comrade Fikile Mbalula, is consulting with the mass democratic movement, various interest groups, and other political parties with a view to achieving national unity,” the party said in a statement.

It dismissed any “fake news attempts” to divide the NEC and said it was “strongly united” and focused on its mandate to build a better life for all.

Multi-Party Charter members seek new start 

Members of the Multi-Party Charter (MPC) met on Saturday evening to discuss the election results and the way forward after they did not get a majority of the votes. Both the FF+ and ActionSA said there were no decisions made regarding the charter, but tensions seem to be brewing.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the MPC agreement had ceased to exist as it had not met its target.

This opens the door for parties who were signatories of this pre-election pact to look elsewhere for coalition partners, with the DA, IFP and FF+ moving to a more pragmatic stance following the elections and possibly eyeing a government of national unity.

The IFP’s Narend Singh said the party was flexible about coalitions, adding it had experience with working with the ANC.

“We have worked with them before when we were a part of the GNU, but it is up to the parties who can form a government to make the first call; it is not for us. We are open to talk with anyone,” he said.

The FF+ head of elections, Wouter Wessels, was clear that the party was not willing to work with the MK party or EFF, but was open to an agreement with the ANC. 

“We will not get into a coalition with the ANC, but we are willing to get in some sort of agreement,” he said.

Party leader Pieter Groenewald told Daily Maverick they were willing to do anything to stop a coalition between the ANC, EFF and MK party.

The DA’s Steenhuisen expressed the same sentiments in his address on Sunday. All three parties have not ruled out working with the ANC and haven’t been bashing the party in recent days.

“And, like millions of other South Africans, I do not want them to grow up in a country run by a party like MK that wants to abolish the Constitution which so many fought and died for, that wants to subvert the judiciary, and that plans to expropriate all private property and nationalise the Reserve Bank,” Steenhuisen said.

“These are the things contained in the manifestos of the EFF and MK. They amount to an all-out assault on the Constitution of our country. They will cause untold unemployment, misery and hardship for millions of people.” DM

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