Politics & Legal

Power Struggle Between DA and ANC: The Threat to South Africa’s Government of National Unity

A political tug-of-war between South Africa’s ANC and DA parties threatens the stability of the Government of National Unity. Tensions over cabinet positions have led to public disputes, with ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula criticizing other parties for their demands and negotiating tactics.

The political landscape in South Africa is currently marked by significant tension between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA). These tensions threaten the stability of the Government of National Unity (GNU), a coalition formed to govern the country.

ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula has publicly criticized other parties within the GNU for making what he describes as “outrageous demands” for specific cabinet positions. According to Mbalula, certain parties have been negotiating through media leaks, which he deems an act of bad faith. He emphasized that only the president has the final say in cabinet appointments, and the GNU would not be held hostage by any single party’s demands.

Mbalula’s remarks reflect his frustration over the DA’s firm stance on key cabinet positions. Reports indicate that the DA is insisting on significant roles, such as appointing its leader, John Steenhuisen, as either the country’s deputy president or the minister in the Presidency. The DA’s push for these positions is rooted in the Statement of Intent signed with the ANC, which outlines that cabinet positions should be allocated based on proportional representation.

DA spokesperson Solly Malatji reaffirmed the party’s commitment to the Statement of Intent, emphasizing the need for their involvement in the government to make a positive impact on South Africans’ lives. Malatji highlighted that the DA must respect its voter mandate and prioritize the people’s interests.

The delays and disputes within the GNU have also been commented on by Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie. He candidly stated that the fight for power and positions is at the core of the current delays in announcing the GNU cabinet. McKenzie urged transparency and honesty about these power struggles.

The DA’s demand for the minister in the Presidency post is particularly contentious. This position is one of the most influential in the cabinet, encompassing the crucial portfolio of State Security, which handles national security concerns.

This political struggle has tangible effects on governance. Gauteng’s newly-elected Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, postponed a scheduled media conference to announce his executive committee due to ongoing negotiations. Despite speculations about presidential intervention, Lesufi attributed the delay to the complexity and difficulty of the negotiations.

The ANC’s inability to secure an outright majority in Gauteng has necessitated forming alliances with other parties to govern effectively. This precarious balance of power within the GNU underscores the challenges of coalition governments and the critical need for cooperative and transparent negotiation practices.

As South Africa watches these developments, the future of the GNU hangs in the balance, with the potential for significant political repercussions depending on how these disputes are resolved.

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