Home South African Down but not out, says ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula

Down but not out, says ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula

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With the election results not producing an outright majority for any political party, all roads now lead to the behind-the-scenes coalition talks which are expected to intensify on Monday as the scramble to form a government ensues.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula addresses the media about the governing party’s electoral decline below 50% in the May 29 elections. Picture: Sihle Mlambo, Independent Media

WITH the election results not producing an outright majority for any political party, all roads now lead to the behind-the-scenes coalition talks which are expected to intensify on Monday as the scramble to form a government ensues.

The ANC’s failure to garner enough votes to constitute a government has left the door wide open for a coalition government, which the ANC said must reflect the will of the people, be stable and able to govern effectively.

At a press briefing on Sunday, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the party was down but not out.

“We suffered heavily but we are not out. We are talking to everybody, there’s nobody we are not going to talk to.

“We’ve been approached by political parties, as is normal. The outcome is clear: nobody has an outright majority so we’ll talk to them. I’ve got a mandate from the leadership as of yesterday that we must engage with political parties who are engaging with us.

“We’ve got a team led by the secretary-general. We don’t want to distort things, we’re talking to the DA, EFF and MK Party.

“We are looking at scenarios, with the options before us. We are having an NEC (national executive committee) meeting on Tuesday which will report on these talks. The NEC will take a decision performed by its own analyses of these matters. We are engaging and we are open to engaging,” said Mbalula.

He said they entered this term with both a clear mandate and a firm commitment to improve the maintenance of infrastructure and the provision of services in communities throughout the country.

EFF party leader Julius Malema said at the weekend that they would negotiate with the ANC.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said now that the Multi-Party Charter coalition partners would not help them gain a majority, “the DA’s federal executive has unanimously adopted a resolution to initiate exploratory talks with other political parties”.

“The bottom line is that, collectively, the ANC, EFF and MK have the numbers to take power, while the Multi-Party Charter (MPC) does not. To facilitate this process, the federal executive has appointed a negotiating team composed of Helen Zille, Ivan Meyer, Siviwe Gwarube, Alan Winde, Tony Leon and Ryan Coetzee to facilitate the engagement with other parties,” he said.

Steenhuisen said engagements with other parties would also be rooted in the seven apex priorities outlined in the DA’s manifesto.

The Sunday Independent reported on Sunday that there was a covert agreement allegedly between the DA and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, aimed at forming an informal coalition in the aftermath of the elections.

ActionSA, part of the MPC with the DA, noted Steenhuisen’s remarks, saying that they confirmed plans to negotiate a potential coalition with the ANC.

“While the DA wishes to paint this decision as one necessitated by this election outcome, it must be clear that DA leaders have spoken in favour of a deal with the ANC consistently since 2019.

“ActionSA will be undertaking a two-day senate meeting, during which a position relating to the electoral outcomes will be determined and communicated.

“It is, however, unlikely that ActionSA will depart from its commitment to the South African people to not take the votes we received from South Africans seeking change, only to give them to the very party that has created the crisis from which we need change 30 years into our democracy,” said ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont.

Unisa political science professor Mlungisi Phakathi said: “Nationally the ANC has 40%. They don’t need the DA. There are other parties they can choose as well. If they work with the MK Party, they won’t need the DA. It can give them over 50%. It can (also) choose the EFF and another small party then they will be able to form a government. Gayton McKenzie has said, one of their demands, is the ministry of Home Affairs.”

Policy analyst Nkosikhulule Nyembezi added that factions in the ANC would not allow for a coalition with the DA.

“The process of doing that nomination is going to happen on the floor. There will be a contest which will lead to an election. A substantial number of ANC members will not vote for Ramaphosa going into coalition with the DA.”

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