Tuesday 25 June 2024


SOUTH Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) emphasized that no party can hold the Government of National Unity (GNU) at ransom for Cabinet positions, reminding all parties involved that President Cyril Ramaphosa holds the final decision-making power in the selection of Cabinet members.

Following the ANC’s failure to secure a majority in the recent elections, the party is engaged in discussions with nine other political parties to form a new government. The parties are ANC, Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Patriotic Alliance (PA), Freedom Front Plus (FF+), United Democratic Movement (UDM), RISE Mzansi, Al Jamah, Pan African Congress (PAC) and GOOD.

Reports from South Africa indicate that the DA has requested the appointment of at least 10 of its Members of Parliament (MPs) to key economic portfolios. Additionally, the DA has proposed their party leader, John Steenhuisen, to serve as the deputy president within the GNU.

As reported by The Citizen, the expected unveiling of President Ramaphosa’s cabinet, originally scheduled for Sunday after his inauguration at the Union Buildings in Pretoria last week, has been delayed due to the DA’s demands.

Talks between the ANC and the DA have now reached an impasse, as the ANC offered three Cabinet posts to the DA, while the latter believed they were entitled to claim a minimum of 10 out of the 30 available positions.

In a statement, ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri expressed concern regarding certain parties’ “outlandish and outrageous demands” for specific Cabinet positions, as leaked to the media.

She regarded this practice as an act of bad faith that does not contribute to the progress of any party’s cause.

Bhengu-Motsiri said the President alone possesses the ultimate authority in appointing his Cabinet, emphasizing that the GNU cannot be held hostage by any individual party “the people need a government to be established sooner, rather than later.”

Bhengu-Motsiri confirmed that the ANC acknowledged the significance of the 2024 National and Provincial Election results, which demonstrated the South African public’s desire for political parties to collaborate in resolving the country’s pressing challenges and improving the lives of its citizens.

Considering various options, the ANC, as the party with the highest number of votes, opted for the GNU model as the best fit for the national interest.

Subsequently, the ANC took the initiative to engage all parties with parliamentary seats in the formation of a Government of National Unity for the 7th democratic administration.

“Intensive negotiations led by the ANC resulted in 10 out of 18 parties joining the GNU initiative by June 22, 2024. Bhengu-Motsiri listed the participating parties as the ANC (159), DA (87), IFP (17), PA (9), FF+ (6), UDM (3), RISE Mzansi (2), Al Jamah (2), PAC (1), and GOOD (1). Collectively, these parties represent a substantial majority of over 70% (287) of the 400 seats in the National Assembly,” she said.

Bhengu-Motsiri outlined the principles considered for Cabinet membership, highlighting an inclusive approach that takes into account electoral outcomes, the national interest, demographic diversity, gender representation, social sectors, and relevant governance experience and competency.

She clarified that the cooperation within the GNU extends to both the Parliament and the Executive.

“Parties involved in the GNU may be assigned responsibilities in either the Legislature or the Cabinet. Consultations between the President and the leaders of the GNU parties are currently underway, adhering to the constitutional prerogative of the President.

“With the executive authority conferred upon the President as the Head of State and Head of the National Executive, the President appoints Cabinet members, assigns their functions, and receives reports from them as a collective body. Once the GNU Cabinet is formed, Ministers assume their roles as members of the Cabinet, responsible for their respective portfolios and collectively serving the nation’s interests rather than their own parties or sectors,” she said.

Bhengu-Motsiri concluded by stating that the President will announce the Cabinet in the following days, based on the aforementioned principles.


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