Home South African DA jeopardises formation of unified government, says Ramaphosa

DA jeopardises formation of unified government, says Ramaphosa

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Ramaphosa informed Steenhuisen that he intended concluding all negotiations and consultations on the GNU Cabinet this week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a letter to DA leader John Steenhuisen, accused the party of being a chameleon in the GNU negotiations and jeopardising the formation of a unified government. Graphic/IOL

THE formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) appeared to have hit a brick wall last night and was on the verge of collapse as the DA and ANC remained divided over Cabinet positions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a letter to DA leader John Steenhuisen, accused the party of being a chameleon in the GNU negotiations and jeopardising the formation of a unified government.

The DA had initially demanded 12 ministerial positions, including that of deputy president. However, the ANC resolved to give the DA six ministerial portfolios. This decision was also communicated through a letter.

The portfolios offered included Home Affairs; Basic Education; Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC); Public Works and Infrastructure; Communications and Digital Technologies; and Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

However, Steenhuisen wrote to Ramaphosa, stating that six posts were insufficient. He requested two additional portfolios.

In addition to the six existing Cabinet portfolios, he suggested that the portfolios of Sports, Arts and Culture, Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, or Public Service and Administration be allocated to the DA. In his letter to Steenhuisen, Ramaphosa accused the DA of shifting the goalposts with their constantly changing demands.

“I regard your approach in moving the goalposts as a continuation of what was articulated in your Federal Chair’s letter of 22 June 2024 on issues such as ‘sealed mandates’ of ministries, through which the DA seemed to want to set up a parallel government that would operate outside the framework and parameters of the Constitution-based method and protocols of running the government of the Republic of South Africa,” he said.

The latest proposals by the DA do not align with the principles adopted and encapsulated in the Statement of Intent, he said.

Ramaphosa informed Steenhuisen that he intended concluding all negotiations and consultations on the GNU Cabinet this week.

In an interview with the ‘Cape Times,’ University of North West political analyst Professor André Duvenhage said there was a lot for Ramaphosa to lose in the process.

“A vulnerable Ramaphosa is not going to keep up. The first scenario is for the DA and ANC and other parties like the IFP finding each other and forming a GNU with majority support.

“I don’t think all parties will stay on board throughout the whole course,” he said.

Duvenhage said the second scenario was for the DA to walk out of the GNU, forcing the ANC to run a minority government with smaller parties. “It has two implications in that it may lose Gauteng and the limited control of KwaZulu-Natal. Gauteng is extremely problematic if the DA gets out of the GNU.”

The third option was jumping to a left-leaning party in an attempt to get support to replace the DA.

“The most likely candidate is the EFF. I don’t see the MK Party in that framework as they go for the head of Ramaphosa.”

The fourth scenario was a combination of factors that would create instability to the government and head for another set of elections.

Duvenhage said there could be a real chance of pressure within the ANC and its alliance partners and the leagues on Ramaphosa.

He noted that the SACP and Cosatu had felt that the ANC took the wrong decision in entering into agreement with the DA when there were other options.

“It is possible that there can be so much pressure on Ramaphosa. If he cannot accommodate the DA, this brings him to the left.

“If we are to have a minority government, it will be only for a time. I don’t see it bringing stability,” Duvenhage said.

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