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DA prepared to occupy opposition benches as ANC-DA talks reach stalemate in GP legislature

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According to DA federal chairperson Helen Zille, they are prepared to sit on the opposition benches after prolonged talks between the DA and ANC reached a dead end regarding cabinet appointments in the Gauteng legislature.

The DA says it is still open to negotiate with the ANC, however, if all fails, they are prepared to walk away and preside as an opposition in the Gauteng legislature. Picture: Democratic Alliance (Facebook)

ACCORDING to DA federal chairperson Helen Zille, they are prepared to sit on the opposition benches after prolonged talks between the DA and ANC reached a dead end regarding cabinet appointments in the Gauteng legislature.

Zille, with party provincial leader Solly Msimanga, said this during a media briefing on Tuesday shortly after Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi was expected to announce his new provincial council on Monday, which was extended to Tuesday.

Msimanga said: “We are open to engaging with the ANC. Whether there was a sense of the end of the road, certainly from our end, we don’t take that as the case. If it is the end of the road on their side, then it will be the end of the road.

“We will take opposition seats and we will see how it happens. How we engage going forward if we take opposition seats, we will communicate with the media from a caucus perspective. Whether the ANC is forming a government with another political party, is not yet clear.”

Citing Clause 16 of the Statement of Intent, the DA was to be given three cabinet seats out of 10, while the ANC would retain the remaining seven including the premier’s position.

This breaches the political contract of the two parties, which agrees on “the principles of proportionality, inclusiveness, and respecting the will of the voters (outcome of the election) in the setting up of a government,” said Zille.

Zille said the national pact would give the IFP one office, as the party forms part of the DA-ANC marriage and played a significant role in the success of the government of provincial unity in KwaZulu-Natal.

Asked whether the DA would walk away if negotiations were to fail, Zille said: “If you – ANC – are not prepared to adhere to these documents, we are going into opposition. We don’t mind being in opposition, it is our comfort zone. It is not a threat, it’s just a fact. It is a rational decision to take.”

The DA maintained that it is open to negotiate with the ANC to form a power-sharing government to reflect the electorate outcome, and especially as the parties with the most votes. The DA narrowly lost to the ANC by 6% provincially.

If talks collapse, Zille said the parties’ pact would not affect KZN and nationally as it would be irresponsible and create political instability. If the DA abandons the GPU, it would spiral to a doomsday broad coalition of the EFF and Umkhonto weSizwe Party.

“We don’t want to hand KZN to MK and EFF, it would be a total disaster for that province,” said Zille.

ANC national secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, will later on Wednesday address the media about the outcomes in the Gauteng legislature, suggesting the national executive has entered the chat to conclude negotiations and formulate a provincial government.

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