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Business pushing ‘forced marriage’ between ANC and DA, will backfire badly – Gayton McKenzie

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The leader of the Patriotic Alliance (PA), Gayton McKenzie, said his party has met the top leadership of the ANC, which underperformed in the May 29 general elections and is now seeking coalition partners to form the next government.

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie. File picture

THE LEADER of the Patriotic Alliance (PA), Gayton McKenzie, said his party has met the top leadership of the African National Congress (ANC), which underperformed in the May 29 general elections and is now seeking coalition partners to form the next government.

McKenzie’s PA, emboldened by its successful run and growth in last week’s elections, will be making its debut in the National Assembly. Dubbed the “biggest risers” in the hotly-contested elections, the PA scored 2.06% nationally, a significant 7.33% in the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) territory of the Western Cape, and the party also garnered 8.36% in the hung Northern Cape province.

The PA will have nine Members of Parliament in the seventh administration, and the party has also secured 10 provincial seats across the Western Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape.

The results mean that the PA can become a “king maker” in hung provinces, and at national level where the ANC garnered just more than 40%, losing the majority vote it has consistently held since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

As horse-trading and coalition talks intensify, with the ANC engaging its opponents to bring them on board and form the next government, McKenzie told broadcaster Newzroom Afrika that his party has already been courted by the ANC.

“From my side, it was myself, the deputy president, our head of marketing and our head of strategy, there was four of us,” he told the channel.

On the ANC side, McKenzie said the ANC “crème de la crème” delegation included secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, chairperson Gwede Mantashe, treasurer-general Gwen Ramokgopa, Nomvula Mokonyane, the deputy secretary-general, the second deputy secretary-general Maropene Ramokgopa, David Makhura, the erstwhile premier of Gauteng, and national executive committee members Ronald Lamola and Parks Tau.

McKenzie said going into the negotiations with the ANC, his party would want to be given the Department of Home Affairs in the next government. The Patriotic Alliance has campaigned on the promise of cleaning up the national department.

He said the real negotiations will be held on Thursday.

As the tough and delicate negotiations unfold, McKenzie warned that South Africa is on a knife-edge, and the situation could explode if the business sector gets its way – pushing for a coalition featuring the ANC and the DA, at the exclusion of other political players in the country.

“Business needs to stay out of these talks. Business has been dominating these talks, they have been wanting their agenda to be pushed in these talks. Business has been relentless in arranging this forced marriage between the DA and the ANC, yet none of them (the political parties) really wants it. Believe me, I speak to people in the DA and people in the ANC,” he said.

“Business is putting its foot down and saying ‘you will marry’. They do not understand the repercussion of what they are busy doing. The first repercussion is that they are making Jacob Zuma the most powerful man in this country again. I can tell you, 25 to 30 percent of the ANC will leave instantly and they will go to MK (uMkhontho weSizwe Party led by Zuma). For him (Zuma), that is the best situation.”

McKenzie said the “forced marriage” being pushed between the ANC and the DA is that it seeks to disenfranchise the 45% voters who chose the MK party in KwaZulu-Natal, and the consequences would be dire. He said there is a “sick obsession” to exclude Zuma from all avenues of governance.

“They are trying to put a coalition that excludes Jacob Zuma. Business needs to leave its obsession to see Jacob Zuma hanging from a tree. Make peace with the fact that people love Jacob Zuma, despite all the efforts that have been done, let us move on. Let us put the country first.

“For business, the country can go to hell, as long as Jacob Zuma is not part of it (the government). People are so scared to talk about them. Political parties see it and they only say it behind closed doors. They cannot say it like I do because they get funded by these people.”

Zuma’s new political home, the newly-formed MK Party, has had a meteoric rise on South Africa’s political landscape, out-manoeuvering the ANC out its KwaZulu-Natal stronghold where the MK party garnered 45% of the vote. The ANC was reduced from its previous majority in the province to a humbling 18% of the vote.

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