ActionSA rejects invitation to join the GNU

ActionSa president Herman Mashaba. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

ActionSa president Herman Mashaba. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 26, 2024


Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA has declined an invitation to join the ANC-led Government of National Unity, saying it was important for Parliament to have a strong opposition to the government.

Leaders of ActionSA met with the African National Congress on Tuesday to discuss the governance outlook for South Africa following the 2024 national and provincial elections.

The GNU was proposed by the ANC after it slumped below 50% for the first time since 1994. The ANC attained just 40% of the vote during the May 29 elections. This resulted in the ANC securing 159 seats out of 400 in Parliament.

This move has forced the ANC to work with other political parties to form a government and to avert any political challenges and economic uncertainties.

Currently, parties that have agreed to work with the ANC to form the GNU include the DA, IFP, PA, FF+, UDM, PAC, Al-Jamah, Rise Mzansi, Good and the NFP.

However, ActionSA’s rejection stems from strategic considerations, Mashaba said.

ActionSA, which has six seats in the National Assembly and eight seats provincially, says it wants to be an effective opposition party.

ActionSA’s rejection of the GNU invitation aligns with their broader strategy to build momentum as a viable force. By opting out of the GNU at this juncture, they aim to consolidate their base and articulate clear policy reform that resonates with a diverse spectrum of the people of South Africa.

Mashaba said they fear that those eager to maintain the coalition’s power and the benefits it brings may prioritise their own decisions over accountability when making decisions.

“We fear that a desire to keep the coalition in power – and retain the privileges and benefits associated with their newfound positions – will come at the cost of accountability when inevitably decisions are made in self-interest,’’ said Mashaba.

Another concern for ActionSA is that they fear that the GNU could create a large government without a strong opposition in a parliament.

“News emanating from the negotiations appear to be producing a larger cabinet, predetermined agreements regarding votes on any instrument to hold the President to account, and one in which political parties appear to be seeking unilateral powers to politically appoint senior civil servants,’’ said Mashaba.

ActionSA said they were very pleased by the tone of the meeting and the opening of previously closed communication lines.

“We remain committed to using our representation in the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures to serve the national interest,’’ concluded Mashaba.