‘Outlandish, outrageous’ demands divide GNU

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille emerged stating that the Cabinet positions to be held by her party should include that oft deputy president.

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille emerged stating that the Cabinet positions to be held by her party should include that oft deputy president.

Published Jun 25, 2024


The ANC has drawn a line in the sand, saying no single party will hold to ransom the negotiations over the allocation of Cabinet positions in the Government of National Unity (GNU).

This comes as parties in the ANC-led coalition have yet to reach consensus on ministerial positions. The DA wants 11 ministerial portfolios and deputy ministers in the same ministries.

The impasse is such that Parliament cannot establish portfolio committees until the ministerial portfolios have been designated. In a statement, ANC national spokesperson Mhlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said they noted with concern that some parties were making “outlandish and outrageous” demands for specific Cabinet positions in the media.

Bhengu-Motsiri said negotiating through leaking demands was an act of bad faith and this practice would not help the cause of any party.

“It is only the President who has the final say on the appointment of his Cabinet.

“The GNU cannot be held to ransom by any single party. The people need a government to be established sooner, rather than later,” she said.

A total of 10 parties are now part of the GNU, after several joined at the weekend.

While negotiations at national level are under way, consensus is still to be reached in Gauteng after talks resulted in the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa and premiers and presiding officers in Parliament and legislatures.

Bhengu-Motsiri said the second phase of the process to appoint the Cabinet in line with the Constitution was under way and Ramaphosa would announce the Cabinet in the coming days.

“Once Cabinet is formed, Parliament will then start its work to establish its structures, including portfolio committees and other structures of responsibility as prescribed by the Constitution.

“It is the ANC’s wish to see that these processes are not unnecessarily delayed, so that the seventh administration can get on with the urgent tasks of attending to the people’s priorities.”

Bhengu-Motsiri’s statement came as some communication from DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille emerged stating that the Cabinet positions to be held by her party should include that oft deputy president.

“We can only agree to give up that post if it is replaced with both a Minister in the Presidency, who is also designated as the Leader of Government Business and participates fully in the policy development and monitoring responsibilities of the presidency, and a Deputy Minister of Finance, who participates fully in the development of the budget,” reads the document.

The document states that directors-general in departments reporting to DA ministers should be selected by panels consisting of their ministers and submitted to the President for approval.

“The contracts of all current DGs would also need to be reconsidered.

“This is in light of our concern that incumbents may not be amenable to direction from DA ministers, especially given the ANC’s cadre deployment policy.”

The document also stated that all tenders in departments to be run by the DA since promulgation of the election should be reviewed.

“It is not possible to effect change in a context where recent decisions by the previous government are rendered irreversible.”

The document warned that the DA’s participation in government in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal depended on the party’s participation at a national level.

Contacted about the document, purportedly from Zille, DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi would only say his party remained committed to the statement of intent to set up a GNU.

“The purpose of our negotiations now is to give expression to that statement so that we are able to make a positive impact on the lives of South Africans.

“We obviously cannot enter a government if we do not have the means to effect positive change.

“We are hopeful that we can reach a satisfactory agreement with the ANC,” he said.

Malatsi, who steered clear of the document purported to be from Zille, said they were obliged to respect the mandate from the voters and put the people of South Africa first.

In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa said that every effort must be made to ensure that the GNU remained true to its founding spirit of collaboration in good faith.

“The success of the GNU will be measured by the extent to which we are prepared to focus not on who will govern, but on how we will govern, together,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Cosatu said it remained deeply opposed to the DA being in the GNU.

“If the DA is to be part of GNU, then it must abandon its anti-worker and anti-transformation agenda,” general secretary Solly Phetoe said.

Phetoe said the GNU policy mandate should be anchored on the ANC manifesto and be guided by the Constitution. Deputy president Mike Shingange said they have accepted that Ramaphosa had the prerogative to appoint the Cabinet.

“We appreciate the engagement that must happen among the parties.

Our expectation, with or without the DA in Cabinet, is that we should not experience a reversal of progress we made,” Shingange said.

Cape Times