SA’s proposed coalition government has all but collapsed


South Africa's Government of National Unity (GNU) facies collapse following disagreements over ministerial positions between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA)

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AFTER episodes of leaked letters and further wrangles over cabinet portfolios, the anticipated coalition government to run South Africa is doomed.

There are fears the coalition, also referred to as the Government of National Unity (GNU), is facing collapse.

Relations between the two biggest parties- the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) appear irreparably damaged- during marathon negotiations that have delayed the naming of the cabinet by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Apart from the haggles over cabinet posts, as expected, being the main problems, leaked letters between the pair have added to the stillbirth.

Days after the ANC lashed out at the DA for a letter it said the main opposition had leaked to the media, a letter attributed to Ramaphosa, intended for DA leader, John Steenhuisen, has been leaked.

The contents of the letter are scathing of the DA’s approach to the proposed coalition government.

Ramaphosa, in the letter dated June 25, is quoted as accusing Steeinhuisen’s party of “moving the goalposts” as a continuation of what was articulated in the Federal Chair’s (leaked) letter of June 22 on the issues of ministerial positions.

The newly-elected president charged that the DA seemed to want to set up a “parallel government that would operate outside the framework and parameters of the Constitution-based method and protocols of running the government of the Republic of South Africa.”

The DA is advocating that cabinet posts be assigned in proportion to a party’s electoral performance. It has apparently threatened to walk away if its requirements are not met.

ANC secured 40,18 percent, the first time since independence in 1994 it failed to garner a majority. DA got 21,81 percent. Eight smaller parties have also signed for the proposed coalition government.

Ultimately, the president has the prerogative to select members of his cabinet.

Ramaphosa believes this is “a prerogative I believe I have duly and sufficiently tempered to fulfil the commitment of the statement of intent (for the GNU).”

The ANC however appears to have made concessions, with the DA reportedly offered six portfolios but eyeing two more.

The opposition has reportedly gotten Basic Education; Communications and Digital Technologies; Competition, Public Works and Infrastructure; Home Affairs; Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment as well as Trade and Industry portfolios.

Ramaphosa is also said to have offered DA four ministerial positions in Energy and Electricity; Finance; and Small Business Development.

The relationship between the country’s two biggest parties has thus come full circle.

Pre-election DA was the biggest threat to ANC stranglehold on power.

After the polls, the two parties cozied up as the most feasible coalition arrangement, despite some qualms over the DA’s emergence from the National Party, responsible for the globally condemned system of apartheid.

The DA’s walking away would possibly open the way for the ANC to negotiate with uMkhonto weSiZwe (MK) of former president, Jacob Zuma, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of Julius Malema.

Both have rejected involvement in a coalition government that accommodates the DA.

As the absence of a cabinet lingers on, Director Generals of the different portfolios are running the government.

– CAJ News

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