GNU finds itself on shaky ground

Published Jun 22, 2024


The seventh administration under the Government of National Unity (GNU) is already under strain, and South Africans are wondering if it will work to the benefit of the country.

There were signs of discord with reports this week casting a negative spotlight on the DA for its alleged attempt to hijack the GNU. The ANC as well as the PA, led by Gayton McKenzie both accused the DA and its federal leader, Helen Zille, of trying to dictate to the members of the GNU.

In a radio interview this week, Zille said that there were only three founding members of the GNU, the ANC, DA and IFP, and any new members seeking to enter the fold had to be approved by the majority, which at all times would include the DA.

However, during a press briefing on Thursday, ANC Secretary General, Fikile Mbalula, who was criticised for his apparent failure to rein in the DA, was adamant that the ANC remained the leader in the pact.

“It's essential to dispel any misconceptions regarding any one party’s ability to outmanoeuvre the ANC's vision. Historically, our party has demonstrated superior reasoning and leadership, evident in our continued presence in eight out of nine provinces.

“The GNU, an ANC-led initiative, ensures that no single party, whether the DA, IFP, or others, can hold our national agenda hostage. As we navigate through these complex times, the ANC reaffirms its commitment to inclusive governance and national dialogue.”

Mbalula said there were mechanisms to ensure that no one party monopolised GNU for its own ends, adding that more sectors of society would be mobilised to ensure that the grand coalition was inclusive.

“We invite all sectors of society to participate in forging a social compact aimed at tackling inequality, poverty, and unemployment. The modalities of the GNU ensure representation and decision-making by all participating parties, safeguarding consensus-building and conflict resolution mechanisms,” he said.

Mbalula’s remarks were echoed by another ANC leader, Mdumiseni Ntuli, who accused the DA of trying to hijack the GNU party which belonged to the ANC.

Speaking on Newzroom Afrika on Thursday, Ntuli said the DA was trying to show itself to be more important than the ANC and other parties inside the GNU. “They are attempting to take control of the direction. When you read articles by Helen Zille and one by Ryan Coetzee, clearly you can see that this is a very condescending kind of a position in which they believe they hold the ANC.

“They think that, if they go away, the GNU is going to collapse. There is no such a thing like that. The government that will emerge is going to be set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa.”

Cape Town based political commentator, Stef Terblanche, weighed in on the debate around the pros and cons of the GNU following Wednesday’s inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“What has emerged is a promising governing alternative to what we had before, so far pushing for stability and good governance, and praised around the world. The GNU has also resulted in bringing confidence to the markets and among investors, while support here at home seems to be substantial.

“Having the two biggest political parties in the GNU also provides numerical strength in Parliament well beyond the reach of any opposition formation, a prerequisite for political stability and continuity in both the executive and legislative spheres. It leaves much less room for frequent defections and new coalition formations as we have seen at local government level,” Terblanche said.

In his inauguration speech on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said the new government was keen on advancing the interest of all South Africans whilst creating employment, and other opportunities.

“We want to create jobs. We are going to get everyone in the Government of National Unity to create jobs. I am going to make sure that it happens.

“Today we are opening a new chapter in the life of our country. We are going to have a government of national unity where we are going to work together united so that we can advance your interests. Let us not be afraid of what this government of national unity is going to be all about,” he said.

While Ramaphosa was preparing to deliver his acceptance speech on Wednesday, ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe predicted that the GNU would collapse before the end of this year.

“We are South Africans and love our people. They have suffered a lot due to a lack of service delivery. I would be surprised if Ramaphosa is still in office by Christmas.

“His Phala Phala case is waiting for him in Parliament. The matter will be part of the agenda in Parliament, and he will have to account,” Meshoe said.

Saturday Star

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