Business told: Butt out of politics

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie warned business leaders not to impose their will on the political process. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie warned business leaders not to impose their will on the political process. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 7, 2024


The role of the business sector in the negotiations by political parties to form a coalition government has come under fire, with business leaders being accused of trying to influence an ANC-DA coalition government.

Business leaders have spoken out about the various types of coalitions that are possible, warning that some of the proposed coalitions could be detrimental to business and the markets.

These warnings have sparked outrage among some political parties which said the influence business is trying to exert on the process is designed to entrench their power and wealth to the detriment of the poor and marginalised. They called for the business community to keep out of political discussion.

For the first time in 30 years, the ANC is facing a challenge in forming a government after it lost its majority in the May 29 national elections. This has compelled it to engage with other parties to form a government.

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie warned business leaders not to impose their will on the political process. He said business was trying to force “an arranged marriage” between the ANC and the DA, forgetting that the people of KwaZulu-Natal had voted for the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP).

“You don’t engineer democracy in such a way that such a large majority of people (that voted for the MKP) are being excluded.

“My call to business is to get out of political negotiations. If you want to be in it, you should have started a party.

My warning to business is that you are playing with fire. Don’t interfere, people have made a choice.

“You (business) want the government of your choice. Stop what you are doing, you are taking this country to war,” he said.

Another business grouping that has weighed in on the discussion is the Black Business Council (BBC). The council has voiced its objection to the proposed ANC and DA coalition, saying the move would reverse the many gains that had been made.

In a letter to the ANC, the council said the proposed coalition between the ANC and the DA would have dire consequences.

“A union between the ANC and the DA threatens the many gains that the ANC has made over the last decade. The DA campaigned on repealing progressive and race-based legislation, including broad-based black economic empowerment. Repealing these acts and policies will lead to a regression at a time when more transformation and redress are needed.”

The BBC recommended that the ANC should consider going to bed with either the EFF and the PA, or the EFF and the IFP, or forge a working arrangement with the EFF, IFP and MKP.

A coalition government between the DA and the ANC has been seen as the most stable and preferred by the business community as opposed to the ANC partnering with the EFF or the MKP.

Economist Dawie Roodt said business was not dictating but expressing a view of preference, like everyone in the country.

“The reality is that we have a certain political outcome here and it is the responsibility of the various political parties to come to some sort of agreement and conclusion, and that must include what the financial markets are likely to do and what is going to happen to the economy,” said Roodt.

He said the financial markets are not business, they are people, so don’t think the financial market and business are all in cahoots.

“Financial markets are just people voting with their money. It’s a responsibility for everyone to say what the outcome is going to be if there is a specific coalition, including the responsibility of organised labour. They all have a right to say ‘ABC is going to happen’.

“It is about people and the economy and I can promise you that if there is an ANC-EFF coalition, the financial markets are going to punish us,” he said.

Political commentator Makhosini Mgitywa said the time for superwealthy families that control and seek to entrench their hegemony over the country’s politics was over.

“They must finally realise that their time of being puppet masters is coming to an abrupt end. Natives will no longer accept being poor and unemployed, while other South Africans are getting richer no matter what is happening in the country,” said Mgitywa.

He highlighted the struggles faced by the poor, saying this was partly the reason for the popularity of the MKP.

“The MK Party has come this far and got such a good number of votes by campaigning on the platform of inclusion of blacks in the mainstream economy and getting back their land. That movement will not die down, instead it’s about to grow,” he said.

The Mercury