‘Ramaphosa, ANC sold out’ in deal with the DA

Published Jun 15, 2024


PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to be re-elected for a second term after the ANC forged ahead with an unprecedented coalition government following a controversial deal with its arch-rival, the DA.

Once unthinkable, the deal between two sharply antagonistic parties is the most momentous political shift since Nelson Mandela led the ANC to victory in the 1994 elections that marked the end of apartheid.

At least four political parties, including the smaller IFP and PA, agreed to work together in a new government. Still, many questions remain about how they will divvy up key jobs and reconcile opposing policy positions.

Voting took place late into the night as Ramaphosa was pitted against EFF leader Julius Malema who was also nominated for president during Parliament's first sitting at the Cape Town International Convention Centre yesterday after last month's election.

Eff leader Julius Malema was a nomination for President during the first sitting of the seventh Parliament at the CTICC in Cape Town. Photographer: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

The ANC lost its majority in the election, forcing it to form an alliance to continue governing and pitching South Africa into uncharted political territory.

Both DA leader John Steenhuisen and ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula confirmed the deal, which kicked off with a Statement of Intent, and was evident when the DA voted with the ANC to elect Thoko Didiza as National Assembly Speaker. Later, the ANC voted for the DA’s candidate, Annelie Lotriet, as the Deputy Speaker.

The agreement, still to be made public, provides the DA with leadership roles in the national Cabinet, the National Assembly, the National Council of Provinces, and portfolio committees.

This also applies to executive and legislative positions in the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

“Today is a remarkable step in the aftermath of the 29th of May,” Mbalula told reporters, adding that parties included in the unity government would co-operate in both the executive and the legislative branches.

Mbalula said the Statement of Intent was to be circulated to other parties wanting to be part of the Government of National Unity (GNU).

He described the GNU as a desire and a strategic point of prioritising the country across ideological and political divides.

“We need to move forward. We need stability, we need to bring assurance to the masses of the people South Africa that the country is in safe hands and we are moving forward,” Mbalula said.

Steenhuisen said the agreement would go down in the annals of history as the start of a new chapter for the country. “At the heart of this GNU statement is a shared respect for, and defence of, our Constitution and the rule of law, including the Bill of Rights in its entirety.”

The ANC spent two weeks in talks with other parties that went down to the wire as the new Parliament convened.

But signs of political turbulence were evident as EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu told Didiza that his party had hand-delivered a letter to her and Lotriet asking Parliament to revisit the impeachment of Ramaphosa. In response, Didiza said the matter would need to be deliberated.

Ramaphosa will square up against Malema for the position of president.

Political analysts also raised concerns about the ANC and DA’s deal.

Independent political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe criticised the ANC’s decision to enter a deal with the DA.

“The decision to prefer to go with the DA is part of this anti-black agenda. The ANC of Ramaphosa either suffers from Stockholm Syndrome or is simply populated by self-hating blacks who would rather sell their brethren for 30 pieces of silver.

“Indeed, the commitment to sell your own is exemplified by the choices made … It flies in the face of a very clear message from the electorate. For some of us, this is not surprising.

“If big business does not co-opt you or give lots of funds for nothing … this is payback time. The NEC of the ANC is simply honouring its side of the bargain after entering into a pact with the devil,” said Seepe.

Senior lecturer at the University of Limpopo and independent political analyst Dr Metji Makgoba said the ANC, DA and IFP were aligned conservative organisations.

“This means that their government will reinforce the status quo of neoliberal capitalism that works on erasing racial inequality and oppression … because now they lack any radical perspectives to the South African polity. The main goal of their GNU will be to create an environment for the private takeover of the government by capital,” Makgoba said.

“This is the worst combination, but it is not surprising. By choosing assimilation over liberation, the ANC has killed any black radicalism that is necessary for imagining new possibilities for the liberation of black people.

“By choosing non-racialism over uprooting the relations of colonial conquest, the ANC has made itself available to global capitalism as a slave and has continued to degrade the lives of black people while fertilising the ground for the entrenchment of white supremacy,” he said.

Makgoba said by working with the DA and the IFP, the ANC would forget the oppression of black people while working on conservative and liberal ethos.

“Its leaders are unable to name the conditions of black people who have barely benefited from democracy. They always find comfort in naming the liberal Constitution as their guiding framework, while the document has locked blacks in a trap, helpless and powerless,” Makgoba said.