Opposition in ANC, allies growing against GNU

A month after the May 29 national and provincial elections President Cyril Ramaphosa still has not appointed deputy president, ministers and deputy ministers. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

A month after the May 29 national and provincial elections President Cyril Ramaphosa still has not appointed deputy president, ministers and deputy ministers. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 30, 2024


One of the governing party’s Eastern Cape branches wants a national general council or a special consultative conference following a sharp decline in electoral support for the ANC in the May 2024 elections.

The future of the ANC’s planned government of national unity (GNU) appears to be hanging in the balance amid growing opposition to the idea within the party and its alliance partners.

This as the ANC’s Zolile Sangoni Branch in the Eastern Cape’s King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality, called for a special consultative conference to discuss the current political developments following last month’s national and provincial elections.

Furthermore, the ANC’s ally, the SA Communist Party (SACP) has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to snub the DA’s demands and move swiftly to appoint a deputy president, ministers and deputy ministers.

The ANC lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid, as voters vented their anger over power cuts, corruption and poor service delivery.

Having failed to secure an outright majority, the ANC entered into an agreement with the DA, the IFP and other parties, to form a GNU which paved the way for Ramaphosa to retain the presidency. Ten other parties including the Patriotic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, and Rise Mzansi also joined the GNU.

The DA expected cabinet positions in return for supporting Ramaphosa’s re-election as president.

Ramaphosa offered the party six ministerial positions that include Home Affairs, Basic Education, Trade, Industry and Competition, Public Works and Infrastructure, Communications and Digital Technologies and Forestry, Fisheries and Environment.

He also offered four deputy ministerial positions in the Department of Finance, Energy and Electricity, Small Business Development and another yet to be determined.

However, the DA demanded two more portfolios out of the options of Sports, Arts and Culture, Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform or Public Service and Administration.

The party proposed the three options as alternatives to a Minister in the Presidency, Transport, and International Relations.

The DA said assigning two more positions would satisfy clause 16 by reflecting the will of the people as expressed in the electoral outcome.

Ramaphosa said he wanted to finalise the GNU’s composition through negotiations and consultations this week. He added that he was continuing to hold discussions with other parties on the portfolios they could occupy in order to reach an agreement on the GNU.

”The latest proposals by the DA do not, I am afraid, align with the principles adopted and encapsulated in the statement of intent (to establish the GNU),” Ramaphosa said.

The DA’s proposal for additional portfolios has been met with a backlash from inside the ANC and its allies.

The Zolile Sangoni Branch in ward 35 of the ANC’s King Sabata Dalindyebo sub region called on the party’s leadership to provide them with a roadmap leading to the national general council (NGC).

In the letter dated June 25, the branch said the correspondence came after deep reflection on the current political development, which affected the conventional ways and approaches of the ANC.

The branch said even though it was aware that rule 10.6 of the ANC constitution mandated the national executive committee (NEC) to convene the NGC not later than 30 months after the national conference, “the current situation warrants a surgical and deep structural reflection as the ANC had lost its public appeal post-1994.

“This is a calamity for a giant organisation like the ANC to find itself in a quagmire of inability to distinguish who constitutes the working and progressive alliances, albeit deep-seated irritations,” the branch said.

It stated that the lack of a coherent and cogent tone of leadership had resulted in “all class formations interplaying the character of the ANC.”

The branch said it was imperative to hold an NGC or special consultative conference, adding that this was needed after the humiliating loss of electoral support and the decision that had been taken post elections.

Asked to confirm if the party’s general secretary Fikile Mbalula had received the letter and his response to it, ANC media liaison officer Mothusi Shupinyane Ka Ndaba acknowledged the query but did not respond.

However, Mbalula said meetings would be held to brief the ANC structures and alliance partners and sectors on the decisions of the NEC with regard to the formation of the GNU.

Mbalula said the meetings were scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, branch deputy secretary, Mzi Saliwa said due to the “political groundbreaking shift in the 30th year of freedom and democracy, it would have been sacrosanct to have consulted immediately the structures to ventilate their feelings and pulse after the shocking decline of voter mandate.”

He said when the ANC removed former president Jacob Zuma as its deputy president, the NGC held in Pretoria reversed that far-reaching political NEC and the National Working Committee (NWC) decision.

“The character of the ANC warranted and necessitated a quicker consultation with the structures to quell discontent, especially the sudden courtship between the leadership of the ANC with the DA, while the energy to cement relations with left-leaning parties has been orphaned due to irritating media propaganda against all the organisations that are for social change.

“It would have been better if the ANC had looked into organisations that are in concert with their policies and character, and seek (to) ameliorate differences by having political management of areas of ‘noncommonality of approach’.

Saliwa noted that the, “DA with its character, approach and attitude stands against the gains of democracy, disfavours the fundamental changes, and transformation, and is an agitator of the maintenance of the status quo.

”The original sin committed by the minority regime remains unresolved land and property relations in this country ‘just and equitable’ distribution, economic transformation (broad black economic transformation ),” Saliwa said, adding that the special consultative conference must assist the ANC to remain a true vehicle for change and transformation, respecting and accepting the 2024 electoral outcome.“

He said it should also help in trying to reach out to all members who were “marginalised, and brutalised by dominant factions resulting in groupings and a total collapse of discipline.”

Meanwhile, the SACP has accused the DA of trying to secure a hostile takeover through a grand coalition with the ANC, also involving the IFP, in which the party would wield veto power under the guise of “sufficient consensus”.

The party said this must not be allowed to see the light of the day.

“The DA’s trickery, hypocritical and untenable demands vindicate the SACP, which has on the record expressed strong opposition to a coalition with the DA. In doing so, the SACP made its preferred option of an ANC-led minority government with the features of a government of national unity clear.

“The DA’s trickery, brinkmanship and untenable demands tend towards the division of the Cabinet, which would be akin to a federation of unaccountable ministers if there were to be one part of the Cabinet that would operate separately and accountable to the DA as its ‘ministers’, rather than adhering to the unified whole Cabinet outlined in the constitution. According to the constitution, the Cabinet is appointed by the President, to whom the executive authority is vested. It includes the deputy president and ministers, together with whom the president exercises the executive authority,” said SACP.

The tripartite alliance partner said DA’s demands flew in the face of the Constitution and labour law.

The SACP added that the DA, which claimed to support the separation of party and state, was now demanding the exact opposite.

“It has pretended to have a problem with ‘cadre deployment’ and anti-constitutionalism, but it is now demanding that the president must accept new practices that would amount to an exclusive DA cadre deployment.”

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