DA Cabinet demands: GOOD party says DA could possibly opt out of government of national unity

Brett Herron, secretary-general of GOOD Party. File Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Brett Herron, secretary-general of GOOD Party. File Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 25, 2024


GOOD party secretary-general Brett Herron says his party has not made any demands for Cabinet positions after joining the government of national unity (GNU) being formulated by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In the May 29 general elections, the ANC received its worst election result since apartheid ended 30 years ago in South Africa. The ANC garnered 40% of the vote, losing its absolute majority in Parliament.

IOL last week reported that Ramaphosa had officially begun his second term after his party formulated the GNU, incorporating its decades-old rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and other smaller parties, including the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

At least 10 political parties, including Good, have joined hands with the ANC in constituting the government of national unity. Together, the parties secured over 70% of the vote in the 2024 elections, ensuring broad representativity and a strong mandate to govern South Africa, according to the ANC.

Some of the political parties have, however, publicly demanded specific Cabinet ministries in the seventh administration.

In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Herron said his party - led by struggle icon Patricia de Lille - did not make any Cabinet demands.

Patricia de Lille, leader of the GOOD Party. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

“When we engaged with the ANC directly, we did not discuss positions. We did not ask for any positions and the only reference to the accommodation of parties in a Cabinet was that it would not be possible to accommodate all parties in Cabinet, given the size of the Cabinet of national unity.

“So, we didn’t make any demands on positions.”

Commenting on the highly publicised letter by the DA, which demanded the position of deputy president of South Africa and numerous key Cabinet ministries, Herron said the blue party could possibly be making plans for its exit out of the GNU.

“I think the letter was written for this purpose, for the media’s purpose as an attempt by the DA to pre-empt what the outcome of the Cabinet formation will be … to perhaps indicate what they demanded and how unfairly they have been treated thereafter. I think it was a sign, an act of bad faith, given that this (the statement of intent) is a document of good faith that we all signed. But this is not unexpected in negotiations of this kind,” said Herron.

“I thought, when I read the letter, that the DA are making demands that are so unreasonable that it will give them an opportunity to walk out.

“On the other hand, in any negotiations, you go in with your best ask and you compromise down from there. So, there are two ways of reading it (the letter) and I did read it first thinking this is the basis for telling the public why they are pulling out if they don’t get their own way. But it could have been the typical negotiating style of saying this is our top ask, but we have a bottom line that we are prepared to move to,” he said.

On Monday, IOL reported that following the DA’s intentions of getting 12 cabinet posts, including that of the deputy president in the GNU, the ANC says President Cyril Ramaphosa has the final word on the appointment of the Cabinet.

DA federal chair Helen Zille. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

On Sunday, the DA federal chair Helen Zille wrote a letter, that IOL had seen, to ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, informing him that her party wanted around 12 ministerial positions in the GNU.