ActionSA aims to be the official opposition, while rejecting the GNU process

ActionSA National Chairperson Michael Beaumont. Photo: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

ActionSA National Chairperson Michael Beaumont. Photo: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

Published Jun 7, 2024


ActionSA has rejected the ANC’s idea of a government of national unity (GNU) amid the party failing to secure a majority in last week's general elections.

ActionSA - that won six parliamentary seats in the May 29 polls - said it would not participate in such a process, but at the same time they recognised the need for stability.

The ANC clinched 40% of votes and it was initially reported that it would form a coalition with the DA, which was rejected.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night announced that following his party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, they decided to form a GNU with other political parties including the EFF, DA, PA and IFP.

ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont, speaking in an interview with one of the news channels, said they had expressed the view that as a party they would not take up such a position because they were concerned about what they call a ‘conflicted’ opposition in South Africa.

“What happens to the opposition who have historically played an important role in exposing countless acts of corruption and malfeasance that has taken place, particularly over the last 20 years when they are now given corner offices, bluelight vehicles, government sponsored mansions and higher salaries?

“When they find corruption going forward, they are now facing a decision to do what is right or do they do what keeps their own government in place? A conflicted opposition with an ANC in government is potentially one of the most dangerous things, so we are looking from the outside, saying that we are not going to participate,” said Beaumont.

At the same time they recognised the need for stability, hence they planned to observe. Beaumont said ActionSA had committed to the people that they would play a role of “constructive opposition”.

Beaumont said if proposals came to their desk that were good for South Africans they would support them.

He said ActionSA was open to talks with political parties.

“We are always willing to talk to political parties. That talking has to be predicated on the idea of building an alternative to the ANC. That is the commitment that we have given since the formation of our party,” he said.

Cosatu’s Matthew Parks said the tripartite alliance was disappointed that it had not been consulted beforehand on the decision by the ANC NEC to call for a GNU.

“As Cosatu we are a little bit disappointed that the NEC has announced this decision … So, we had hoped the ANC would have had the courtesy to engage with its alliance partners. After all, we are part of the alliance but we do hope that they will remember that they have an alliance and they engage us fully. As Cosatu, we are still formulating our views,” Parks said.

SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said they were not opposed to a GNU. However, they were concerned about the inclusion of political parties that were against some key policies .

“In principle, we do not have a problem with a GNU but we have expressed our opinion regarding the inclusion of the DA and the uMkhonto weSizwe (MKP) in that GNU. In our view a GNU has to be purpose driven, for we want to drive National Health Insurance (NHI). We cannot have a party that is opposed to the intentions of NHI towards quality healthcare for all,” said Mashilo.

South African National Civic Organisation general secretary Lemias Mashile cautioned the ANC against bringing every Tom, Dick and Harry to the GNU. He said involving all parties would create an unstable government.

“Of course we know it is going to be the top five parties that will be involved in the GNU. If all parties are brought in, then you are going to have endless tension, especially in the division of Cabinet posts,” said Mashile.

South African Federation of Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said it looked to him that the ANC NEC avoided a divisive decision or found a middle ground by basing the creation of a GNU based on certain principles.

“Principles such as for people who believe in the Constitution of the country will reject violence, embrace the rule of law, who embrace the need for transformation and social justice in order to address the legacy of colonialism and apartheid and so forth. To me these are sound principles that will allow all political parties to engage,” Vavi said.

The Star