ANC resorts to government of national unity for stability, peace and progress in South Africa, says Ramaphosa

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says the party will form a government of national unity (GNU) with all parties advancing South Africa. Picture: Itumeleng English/ Independent Newspapers

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says the party will form a government of national unity (GNU) with all parties advancing South Africa. Picture: Itumeleng English/ Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 7, 2024


The African National Congress will go into a coalition government and form a government of national unity (GNU) with all parties advancing South Africa, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

“We have agreed that we will invite political parties to form a government of national unity as the best option to move our country forward,” Ramaphosa said.

“The modalities of the government of national unity will take into account the conditions prevailing at this moment in our country’s history. The purpose of this government of national unity must be first and foremost to tackle the pressing issues that South Africans want to be addressed.”

These included job creation and inclusive economic growth, the high cost of living, service delivery, crime and corruption.

The decision comes hours after the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had been locked in the talks over the coalition government and other issues.

The ANC failed to win the majority during the 2024 national and provincial elections. South Africans cast their votes on May 29, in a bid to have a new government that will address their concerns.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa said the party has heard the concerns of the people of South Africa.

“We have also heard their frustrations and recognise their aspirations,” he said, adding that the ANC remained a pivotal partner in the country’s search for a way forward.

“There can be no solution in our country without the ANC.... That places a responsibility on the ANC to ensure that there is unity, stability, peace and progress in South Africa.”

He said the ANC had already engaged Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Democratic Alliance (DA), National Freedom Party (NFP), and the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

He said the NEC mandated its negotiating task team to proceed to engage parties on their proposal.

“They will also reach out to a broader range of parties to enrich the process and promote inclusiveness,” he said.

“We have agreed as this NEC that it is both necessary and strategic that we act in a manner that seeks to unite the broadest range of social forces and isolate those that seek to cause chaos, instability and division,” Ramaphosa said.

“As the ANC, we will be reaching out to formations across society to build a shared programme for social and economic change.”

Ramaphosa said the ANC entered the discussions with “an open mind and a commitment to speak to all parties that have stated an interest to advance the interest of the people of South Africa”.

This brings an end to a week-long political deadlock and mixed emotions from citizens after the general elections.

The issue of coalition government has also raised concerns among some ANC members, including the allies who questioned the option to enter into a coalition agreement with the DA.

The ANC lost its Parliamentary majority for the first time in its 30 years of rule after apartheid. It is eyeing the national unity government after its loss.

The ANC got 40.18% support, with the DA on 21.81% votes, the former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK Party) got 14.58%, and EFF got 9.52% votes.

With the proportional representation system in place in South Africa, parties with a combined total of more than 50% of the vote would be required to work together to form a government.

Addressing the results, Ramaphosa said that the ANC was humbled by the confidence South Africans showed in the party.

“We now say as the NEC, that we have heard their concerns, frustrations and aspirations. The 40% vote for the ANC is a recognition that the ANC remains pivotal in the country’s search for a way forward,” he said.

“During the course of the discussion, we have looked at several different scenarios for setting up government, as the ANC cannot set up government without cooperating with others.”

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Ramaphosa said that from the results it was clear that South Africans expected leaders to work together to meet needs.

“They expect us to find common ground, to overcome our differences, and to act and work together for the good of everyone,” he said.

“We are committed to ensuring that a government of national unity has the means and the ability to build an inclusive economy, create jobs, end corruption, tackle crime and improve the provision of services,” Ramaphosa said.

“In establishing a government of national unity, we would be building on a rich history of cooperation across divides of politics and ideology. We would be drawing on an experience with which South Africans are familiar, and which served our country well at a time of great difficulty and division.”

The last few days has seen conjecture over the potential coalition that could be formed has been rife since the results were revealed.

To avoid the problem of who to collaborate with, the solution to the ANC was to form the GNU.

However, many party activists have been incensed by the DA collaboration because they believe it represented the interests of the white minority, a claim the party refutes.

The DA also opposed the ANC’s marriage with MK Party and EFF alleging that it would somehow destabilise the business community, as their policies are based on taking land without compensation and nationalisation of mines.

If the ANC agreed to cooperate with the DA, SACP will convene a meeting to assess its ties with it.

– Additional reporting by Devereaux Morkel

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