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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Five parties to form new South African government

The coalition will have 273 seats in the National Assembly, and will be led by the African National Congress

South Africa has officially formed a Government of National Unity (GNU), made up of five parties, and talks with other political groups are ongoing, the long-ruling African National Congress (ANC) announced on Monday.

The decision to form an alliance with other political parties came after the ANC lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since coming to power in 1994, following the end of Apartheid. It received 40% of the vote in last month’s elections, securing 159 seats in the 400-member assembly, down from 230 in the previous election.

“The GNU emerged as the optimal approach to defend and advance our vision of a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous South Africa,” the ANC said in a statement.

ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa secured a second term as South African president on Friday after the party struck a late coalition agreement with long-time rival the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Two smaller parties – the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the right-wing Patriotic Alliance (PA) – have also joined the ANC-led coalition government, which former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) faction has labeled “meaningless” and an “unholy alliance.”

On Monday, the ANC announced that another smaller party, GOOD, which draws support from the colored community, as mixed-race people are known in South Africa, had also signed the “statement of intent” to participate in the GNU.

The center-right DA, which draws support from the white minority, won 87 seats in the May 29 election; the IFP has 17, PA has nine, and GOOD won just one seat. This group, including the ANC, represents 273 seats in the National Assembly, or 68%, the ruling party stated.

“The GNU will ensure representation in government and legislatures by all participating parties, making decisions by consensus, with mechanisms for conflict resolution where necessary,” according to the ANC.

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Former South African President Jacob Zuma at a media briefing for his party uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), on June 16, 2024, at Capital Hotel in Sandton, outside Johannesburg, South Africa.
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“The president will exercise the prerogative to appoint the cabinet, in consultation with leaders of GNU parties, adhering to existing protocols on government decision-making and budgeting,” it added.

According to the ANC, the new government will focus on rapid, inclusive, and long-term economic growth, job creation, land reform, industrialization, and infrastructure development.

Meanwhile, Zuma’s MK party and the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have declared that they will not be part of the GNU and will instead join the “Progressive Caucus,” an alliance that holds close to 30% of the seats in the National Assembly, to coordinate opposition to the government.

June 18, 2024 at 02:50PM

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