Helen Zille puts her foot down | DA wants four MEC posts as it accuses Gauteng ANC of negotiating in bad faith

The DA’s Federal chairperson Helen Zille listens attentively at the IEC National Results Operations Centre (ROC), Gallagher convention centre. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspaper

The DA’s Federal chairperson Helen Zille listens attentively at the IEC National Results Operations Centre (ROC), Gallagher convention centre. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspaper

Published Jul 3, 2024


Five MEC positions for the ANC, four for the DA and one position for the IFP.

This is the compromise position that the Democratic Alliance’s Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille wants the African National Congress to accept in forming the Gauteng Government of Provincial Unity.

Prolonged talks between the ANC and the DA were deadlocked on Tuesday as the parties haggled over the composition of the Gauteng provincial executive.

The DA said it would not accept a skewed deal, saying it would be willing to take up the opposition benches in Gauteng if the “unsatisfactory situation” persisted.

“The ANC conceded that they had intended to allocate three seats to the DA, and keep seven to themselves, out of a cabinet of 11 (including the ANC Premier). Clearly that would be a violation of the proportionality clause. It would not in any way reflect the will of the voters.

“This division falls far short of the requirements set out in Clause 16 of the Declaration of Intent, and we said sorry, eight to three, is not acceptable given that the DA comprises 45% and the ANC 55% of the GPU.

“It also excluded the IFP that has been part of the national agreement from the start. We stated that this intention did not meet the requirement of good faith to the original signatories of the GNU,” said Zille.

Zille said during a press conference on Thursday that the offer was revised to three MEC positions for the DA, one for the IFP/Patriotic Alliance and six for the ANC.

“Allocating more than double the number of executive positions to the ANC compared to the DA, does not reflect the election outcome, nor is it broadly proportional, nor is it inclusive.

“The ANC offered to reduce the seven to six, retain the DA at three and giving the IFP or PA one. We welcome the IFP’s possible inclusion, but point out that this is still far short of the requirements of Clause 16.

“We are prepared to enter the GPU in Gauteng as a power-sharing partnership, to reflect the will of the electorate,” said Zille.

The DA wants four MEC positions and it wants the IFP to be given one position. The DA has accepted the deputy speaker position in Gauteng.

In the May 29 elections, the ANC attained 34% (28 seats) of the vote in the province of gold, while the DA attained, 27% (22 seats) of the vote, while other GNU partners attained 2.3% (2 seats) for the FF+, 2% (2 seats for the PA), and 0.8% (1 seat) for the IFP.

Zille argues that in the spirit of proportional representation, they should get similar amount of positions in the provincial cabinet as the ANC.

“We are not prepared to be co-opted by the ANC on their own terms, acting as if it still has an overall majority, which it does not. We cannot agree to be taken hostage in a GPU,” she said.

She added that in terms of the Committee Chairs in the Gauteng Legislature, they were willing to accept six out of the 17 positions, “despite a significant shortfall, on the basis of the Executive reflecting the letter and spirit of the Declaration of Intent”.

Zille has accused the ANC of negotiating in bad faith to get more positions and she has vowed that they will not allow the ANC to treat them as lesser partners in the agreement, stressing they were six percentage points apart in the election results.

“It is very hard for the ANC to come to terms of losing power I understand that but they got 34% they didn't get 50% plus one and that means that they can't dictate the terms,” she said.

As the DA and ANC squabble over the proportionate allocation of positions, Zille and DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga said they were still open to further discussions with the ANC, but stressed they were more than willing to take up the opposition benches if it got to that.

Last week, talks between the ANC and the DA for the Government of National Unity Cabinet also reached intense levels until an agreement was reached on Saturday night.

“Our door remains open to further negotiation when the ANC is genuinely committed to treating us as a party that is almost the same size as they are in Gauteng.

“We will, again, come to the table in an atmosphere of mutual respect and negotiate in good faith.

“There is still work to do: We must work through the Statement of Intent to ensure that we have the same understanding.

“And we must reach an agreement for the genuine sharing of power so that we can properly serve the voters of Gauteng as the electorate intended,” said Zille.

Meanwhile, the ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula is expected to address a press conference at Luthuli House at 11am on Wednesday to give an update on the latest developments regarding the Gauteng GPU.