Out with the old, in with the GNU

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena Independent Newspapers

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 18, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to have been backed into a corner after the DA has hinted which portfolios in the new Cabinet they would prefer to be responsible for following the elections.

Ramaphosa faces the daunting task of selecting a new Cabinet to make up the newly formed Government of National Unity (GNU) to appease all parties involved.

The ANC, DA and IFP last week formed a Government of National Unity (GNU) following last month’s general elections.

The parties all failed to gain an outright majority during the elections, forcing them to work together in the ANC-led GNU.

On Friday, Ramaphosa was elected as president of South Africa’s 7th administration with the help of the DA and the IFP, paving the way for his inauguration at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday.

While Ramaphosa might be out of the woods regarding the Phala Phala scandal for now, it won’t be a picnic for him to select his new Cabinet if he were to consider the DA’s preferences although it is still his prerogative.

DA federal council chairperson, Helen Zille, speaking on a radio station this week hinted that her party preferred having a position in the Presidency among others.

The former Western Cape premier said it would be appropriate for the DA to have a minister in the Presidency.

“If we are not going for the Presidency or the Deputy Presidency then it would be appropriate for the DA to have a minister in the Presidency.

“We did not push for the Presidency or the Deputy Presidency because we would rather have a delivery portfolio,” she said.

Pushed for answers from listeners, Zille said the DA’s priorities were to grow the economy, end load and water shedding, educate children and bring down crime.

This suggests that the DA prefers the Ministry of Labour, Electricity in the Presidency, the Education Department and the Police Ministry which are key departments forming part of the Cabinet.

Although Zille hinted about the ministries, she insisted she was not in any way suggesting these were the positions her party preferred.

“I can’t dare to say which ministries we want because if I do, the president won’t give it to us.

“There are some fantastic ministries that we think we can make a big impact in to advance our manifesto and our promise to the voters.

“We would very much like to have those but this is a matter between our leader John Steenhuisen and the president,” Zille said.

She said clause 16 in the GNU agreement obliged Ramaphosa to take seriously the outcome of the elections and proportionality between different parties in the outcome of the elections while constituting his Cabinet.

Asked about the Phala Phala scandal that has been hanging over Ramaphosa’s head, Zille said despite her party having agreed not to vote against Ramaphosa if there were to be impeachment proceedings, they would not ignore any evidence that would suggest an impeachment.

“We will only support the impeachment if the evidence suggests that there should be an impeachment. But I don't think we are now in a position considering we have signed a statement of intent to start impeaching a president we have voted for.

“But that doesn’t mean that in the future that we would never ever do anything … But we will not support a motion of no confidence because that was part of the agreement.

“If any evidence emerges of any criminality, wrongdoing or something like that then we would have to look into the issue within the GNU.

“We cannot be held hostage. But we have voted for Cyril Ramaphosa and we have agreed that we can’t make the government unstable by instituting a motion of no confidence all the time,” Zille said.

Ramaphosa is expected to name his Cabinet following his inauguration today.

Efforts to reach presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya came to nil, however, ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula during a briefing in Cape Town last week said his party was still in talks with coalition partners on who to appoint.

Mbalula said in terms of the signed agreement, the appointments would be made according to the size of the proportional vote.

Ramaphosa is expected to name ministers from the parties that constitute the GNU including those of the DA, IFP, the Patriotic Alliance (PA) and the GOOD party.

Gayton McKenzie’s PA has not made it a secret that they were expecting Ramaphosa to appoint them either in the Home Affairs portfolio or the Police Ministry so that they serve their manifesto that promises to keep illegal foreign nationals out of the country.

Patricia De Lille’s GOOD party has been in an alliance with the ANC from the last administration with De Lille occupying the Tourism Ministry.

The Star