ANC mum on GNU breakthrough

Published Jun 14, 2024


Hours before the seventh Parliament was to be established, the ANC kept its cards close to the chest, refusing to disclose which parties would join it in forming the Government of National Unity (GNU).

However, its secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, confirmed that a breakthrough had been reached on the eve of the election of the National Assembly Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the president on Friday.

Addressing the media on Thursday, Mbalula said they were looking forward to the start of the seventh Parliament and the establishment of the GNU.

Their negotiation team has held multiple engagements with political parties that received seats in Parliament and looked at the national dialogue, he said.

“The ANC is not yet in a position to give details in relation to these discussions. We started with exploratory discussions that led to firming up positions by political parties as well as firming our position on GNU with different parties,” he said.

The agreement to be reached with parties would be made public in the interest of transparency and accountability to the electorate, he promised.

“We engaged with a number of political parties and we reached a breakthrough on a common agreement that we need to work together in whatever others call it – GNU or any other thing for that matter. But we agree as political parties that we need to gravitate to the centre, except a few who did not expressly support the GNU, and we are not going to retreat (on the GNU) because we believe the GNU represents the outcome of the election.”

The ANC engaged about 17 parties, except two, with many agreeing to the GNU. However, the ANC and EFF did not find each other.

“The spirit of discussion in terms of foundational principles (is that) you don’t share power but work with others,” Mbalula said.

Addressing the media earlier, EFF leader Julius Malema said his party would not work with the DA and Freedom Front Plus, whom he described as Oppenheimer-funded parties.

Malema confirmed that they didn’t have a concrete agreement with the ANC, which was still to come back to them after their meetings.

“We are however aware that the ANC is finalising an agreement to work with the DA, the Freedom Front Plus and other reactionary political parties. As we said before, the EFF will not participate in a government that includes right-wing and reactionary parties.”

He said his party would field candidates to contest the National Assembly Speaker, Deputy and president and other positions in the National Council of Provinces and provincial legislatures.

The EFF wants its national chairperson Veronica Mente to be the Deputy Speaker and Malema’s deputy, Floyd Shivambu, to be chairperson of the finance standing committee.

He said his party was convinced that the MKP should lead KwaZulu-Natal.

“Any other move outside the MK Party is a provocation of the people of KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.

The National Freedom Party (NFP) said it supported and subscribed to the formation of the GNU and a provincial government of unity in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We are encouraged by the level of engagement that political parties such as the IFP, DA and ourselves as NFP... We re-engage at national level to ensure we finalise key aspects in order to serve the people of this country,” NFP leader Ivan Barnes said.

Cape Times