South Africa

2024 ELECTIONS

ANC in talks with political parties – but claims Zuma’s MK Party unresponsive

ANC in talks with political parties – but claims Zuma’s MK Party unresponsive
MK party leader Jacob Zuma. (Photo: Gallo Images / City Press / Tebogo Letsie)

The ANC says it is meeting with every political party, regardless of political ideology, in an attempt to secure a coalition partner.

The ANC says it has been unsuccessful in attempting to engage with former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto Wesizwe party (MKP) for coalition talks. This claim, however, has been disputed by MK representatives.

Speaking at the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Wednesday, party spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri addressed the media on the outcome of the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) meeting and the selection process for provincial premier candidates on Tuesday.

Bhengu-Motsiri said the ANC had initiated discussions with delegations from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Democratic Alliance (DA), National Freedom Party (NFP) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA). 

The ANC has also engaged with its alliance partners, the South African Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African National Civics Organisation.

“The national officials reported to the NWC that the ANC has repeatedly reached out to the MKP for an engagement meeting, with no positive response,” Bhengu-Motsiri told the media.

“Our door remains open as we continue to reach out to every party that is keen to contribute positively to moving our country forward.”

Bhengu-Motsiri did not provide details on the specific individuals or the methods used to contact the MKP.

Bhengu-Motsiri also mentioned that the NWC discussed the ANC’s three possible options to move forward, as set out by secretary-general Fikile Mbalula’s office on 2 June. While she did not reveal the details, she said these options had been studied, including the inherent risks of each.

Daily Maverick reported on Monday that three discussion documents, which have been tabled as ANC NEC talks on power-sharing get under way, outline the party’s possible coalition options ahead of the 16 June deadline to form a government.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Exclusive: ANC discussion documents tabled ahead of power-sharing talks — one favours ANC-DA-IFP

MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela told Daily Maverick that no formal contact had been made by the ANC.

“We do not know anything about the ANC trying to reach out to us besides when we were at the [IEC’s results operation centre] and they came to our desk for ‘overtures’,” he said.

“I don’t know if you can take overtures as negotiations or engagements. Ever since that, there have been no engagements. Gwede [Mantashe], Mondli Gungubele and Nomvula Mokonyane came over one by one.”

Daily Maverick previously reported that ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe initiated informal discussions with various parties about coalitions at the results centre in Midrand.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Duduzile Zuma says MK open to working with ANC — sans Ramaphosa

The ANC is looking for coalition partners after it dropped below 50% nationally for the first time, with the final tally standing at 40.2% – a decline of 17.3% percentage points.

The newly formed MK party took observers by surprise by winning 14.6% of the national vote. 

 

The ANC’s strategy and communication tactics with potential coalition partners will be critical in shaping the future political landscape.

A possible coalition between the MK party and the ANC, however, would deepen the rivalry between former president Zuma and the country’s head of state, Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The MK party has said it would be willing to work with the ANC only if Ramaphosa is not at the helm. Mbalula has already ruled out the possibility of removing the ANC president on another party’s terms. 

The ANC NEC will meet on Thursday to consider the options tabled by the NWC. There is already a petition online started by a group within the party against forming a coalition with the DA.

The group plans to picket outside the NEC meeting on Thursday. DM

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