Helen Zille checks the ANC: ‘They must realise they don’t take all the decisions anymore’

DA Federal Excutive Chairperson Helen Zille. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane /Independent Newspapers

DA Federal Excutive Chairperson Helen Zille. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane /Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 19, 2024


As the Government of National Unity (GNU) remains the most talked about thing in politics, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has shot up and stated the African National Congress (ANC) cannot make decisions on its own.

Multiple political parties have joined the Government of National Unity (GNU) after the ANC's national vote fell below 50% when results were announced following the general elections on 29 May.

Jaws dropped when it was confirmed that the DA and ANC had signed the GNU agreement, and the coalition is being watched closely. The DA is now the second-largest party in South Africa.

Speaking to Clement Manyathala on the SABC’s "Face the Nation" show, the DA’s Federal Executive Chairperson Helen Zille said the ANC was not the deciding party in the new GNU-led government.

“All parties in the GNU must reach consensus. So they must first of all be parties to the GNU, and then those parties have to represent 60% of the seats in the National Assembly,” Zille said.

When asked if there would ever be a way for the ANC to pass a resolution without the DA's approval, Zille responded:

“We [the DA] will represent at least 30% of seats in the GNU, the ANC will represent at least 60%, but you have to consider all the parties that will be part of the GNU. Without the Democratic Alliance, the ANC can’t reach 60% of the seats in the National Assembly occupied by the GNU.”

She also stated that ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula must first discuss with them which parties should join the GNU.

“The ANC can’t bring in people they feel like bringing in. This is another thing that Fikile does not seem to understand because it says that: ‘in keeping with the inclusive spirit of the GNU, it is agreed that the composition shall be discussed and agreed among the existing parties whenever new parties desire to be part of the GNU.’

“Now agreed means by sufficient consensus. So, it’s not the ANC that gets to invite everybody as Fikile seems to think. He keeps on making public statements about this one joining and that one joining, but he must read clause 24 of what he signed.”

Zille said no party can join the GNU without the DA’s approval.

“There are three founding members of this: it is ourselves [DA], the ANC, and the IFP. Clause 24 says that in keeping with the spirit of the inclusive GNU, it is agreed that the composition shall be discussed and agreed among the existing parties whenever new parties desire to be part of the GNU."

Zille confirmed the DA was consulted about the PAC joining the GNU but not the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

“The PAC, GOOD, and UDM were raised in the negotiations, but definitely not the PA. It’s not about the PA per se, it is about the principle of the issue. They haven’t consulted us. The ANC must realise they don’t make all the decisions anymore. They didn’t win the election.”

Zille said she wrote to Mbalula on Tuesday, 18 June, regarding this issue and had received an acknowledgment of receipt.

Zille said the DA would have to be consulted before President Cyril Ramaphosa announces his Cabinet.

“There is a clause [17] on the Cabinet which states: ‘whilst recognising the president’s prerogative to appoint members to the executive, such appointments should be done in consultation with the leaders of the respective parties of the members considered for appointment.’ So, he can’t just let anyone come in, he’s got to consult with us,” Zille said.

Appointments to the Cabinet cannot be made solely on the basis of having ‘three openings for ministers,’ for example, it was established.

Clause 16 of the GNU states: ‘the GNU shall be constituted in a manner that reflects genuine inclusiveness of political parties that are parties to the statement of intent and are represented in the National Assembly, broadly taking into account the number of seats parties have in the National Assembly and the need to advance national interest. The President shall, in consulting the executive, take into account the electoral outcomes.’

“If he [Ramaphosa] takes into account the electoral outcomes of the parties that have already been admitted into the GNU, that means that whatever the size of the Cabinet, we’re entitled to 30% of the seats and the ANC is entitled to 60% of the seats.”

It remains unclear how large the Cabinet will be, but Zille hopes that its size will be reduced.

“However large the Cabinet is, we should get about 30%,” she said.

The DA believes the Cabinet is too large and will recommend a smaller Cabinet when Ramaphosa consults the GNU.

On Wednesday, the inauguration of President-elect Cyril Ramaphosa takes place at the Union Buildings.

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