Coalition talks begin with McKenzie

Patriotic Alliance Leader Gayton McKenzie. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Patriotic Alliance Leader Gayton McKenzie. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 4, 2024


The embattled ANC has denied reports suggesting that it was divided as it navigates the coalition negotiations after it failed to win an outright majority in the National Assembly and some provinces.

This happened as the meeting of the party’s highest decision-making body between conferences did not convene as expected on Tuesday, despite secretary-general Fikile Mbalula indicating on Sunday that they would be reporting on the negotiation talks.

Instead, national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri confirmed on Tuesday that the ANC would hold its national executive committee (NEC) meeting “this week”.

Bhengu-Motsiri said the ANC, led by Mbalula, was consulting the mass democratic movement, various interest groups and other political parties with a view of achieving national unity.

“We are strongly united and remain focused on using the mandate given to us by our people to build a better life for all.

“We urge all to rely solely on information from our official channels which are led by the ANC spokesperson. We remain committed to taking the nation into our confidence,” Bhengu-Motsiri said.

On Tuesday, Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie confirmed that they had held a coalition talks meeting with top ANC NEC leaders.

McKenzie revealed that from the PA it was himself, his deputy Kenny Kunene and two others, and from the ANC there were Mbalula, chairperson Gwede Mantashe, treasurer-general Gwen Ramokgopa, first deputy secretary-general Nomvula Mokonyane, second deputy secretary-general Maropene Ramokgopa, David Makhura, and NEC members Ronald Lamola and Parks Tau.

“It was the ‘crème de la crème’ of the ANC in that room, they take that very seriously. I was impressed that the approach this time was very different from the last approach (where they just told us), this time they were calm.

“They were honest and told us that other parties want to talk to them. I laughed when they told us that they did not get 50% but they are the most wanted, which is true,” McKenzie told broadcaster Newzroom Afrika.

He said the ANC came knocking on their door, and that the meeting was not too long because they said they were looking for three types of government – they were considering a government of national unity, a grand coalition and a minority government.

McKenzie said the ANC looked at their results and saw that they may be able to play a significant role and they would want to know what they were looking at.

McKenzie said he told them that they cannot put the horse before the cart because they (PA) cannot say to them what they want in such an arrangement without even knowing what type of house they are building.

He said he told them that they needed to get back and tell them if they have decided on a government of national unity because the PA has different demands for different types of government.

“We all agree that the meeting was cordial and jovial and we all agreed that we will have another meeting on Thursday. This time, they would have consulted the ANC whereby they will know what type of government they want,” said McKenzie.

He said he spoke with uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party leader Jacob Zuma, who said they will not work with the ANC of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

McKenzie said no party has a right to tell another party who their president should be.

“We will come with demands, we hope to get the position for Minister of Home Affairs because we have campaigned on that ticket. If we do not get that, I will not go to Parliament simply because what I have realised is the war here in South Africa … what makes the ANC’s Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s fight null and void is the fact that these people (illegal foreigners) have lawyers on standby, so I want to start different law groups to deal with that,” he said.

McKenzie said these demands did not come up at all during their meeting with the ANC because they will come back on Thursday.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said there are a few options available to form the government.

Speaking to The Star on Tuesday evening, Seepe said so far, there are options that seem to carry traction.

“The first that is touted is the ANC and the DA. There are a lot of concerns that have been raised by ANC members and their allies, including Cosatu. This coalition will be fraught with policy challenges such as land, B-BBEE, foreign policy, and the role of the state in the economy,” said Seepe.

He further said: “The second involves different permutations involving the ANC, MK Party, EFF and IFP. The last one is a government of national unity comprising parties that have gained political traction. The ANC will remain a senior partner in such an arrangement,” Seepe said

In another development, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will officially receive the lists of designated MPs and members of provincial legislatures from the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) chairperson Mosotho Moepya on Wednesday afternoon.

“It is an established practice in South Africa that after the announcement by the IEC of the results of the national and provincial elections, the IEC hands over the lists of members of Parliament and provincial legislatures to the Chief Justice, who then hands them over to the Secretary of Parliament,” said the Office of the Chief Justice in a statement.

This is part of the preparations for the first sitting of the National Assembly, which will be held not more than 14 days after the declaration of the election results on May 2.

Zondo will also hand over the lists of designated members of the provincial legislatures to the designated Judge President to preside over the first sittings of the provincial legislatures.

The Star

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