Home South African ‘Over the top’: Cosatu scoffs at DA’s ‘silly’ demands

‘Over the top’: Cosatu scoffs at DA’s ‘silly’ demands


Cosatu, an alliance partner of the ANC, has scoffed at the DA’s demands in the government of national unity that is being formulated to lead South Africa’s seventh administration.

Cosatu’s Matthew Parks thinks the DA has been ‘a little bit silly’ in its demands for top positions in the GNU. File picture

THE CONGRESS of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), an alliance partner of the African National Congress (ANC), has scoffed at the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s demands in the government of national unity being formulated to lead South Africa’s seventh administration.

In the May 29 elections, the ANC received its worst election result since apartheid ended 30 years ago in South Africa. The ANC garnered 40% of the vote, losing its absolute majority in Parliament.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially begun his second term after the ANC formulated the government of national unity (GNU), incorporating its decades-old rival, the DA, and other smaller parties, including the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

On Monday, it was reported that the DA has demanded 12 Cabinet posts, including that of the deputy president of South Africa, in the GNU.

In a letter written on Sunday, DA federal chair Helen Zille informed ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula that her blue party wants around 12 Cabinet positions in the GNU.

In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Matthew Parks, Cosatu’s parliamentary co-ordinator, said the DA’s demands are unreasonable.

“This is part of a negotiation cycle, parties will always present slightly silly, over-the-top demands. The DA was a little bit silly. They are not going to get the deputy president of the country, and they are not getting 12 ministers out of a Cabinet of about 28. It’s silly.”

On the specific portfolios demanded by the DA, Parks said “it is basically the entire government” that the DA wants.

“Basically they will just be leaving for the ANC (the department of) sport and recreation,” said Parks.

He, however, expressed hope that as the negotiations continue, the parties can find each other.

“But they need to be a bit reasonable. In a journey which constitutes about 70% of the Members of Parliament, the ANC is the majority party, it is the largest party and it is the only party with experience in government,” said Parks.

Earlier, GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron also commented on the DA’s Cabinet demands. Herron said the blue party could possibly be making plans for to exit the GNU.

“I think the letter was written for this purpose, for the media’s purpose as an attempt by the DA to pre-empt what the outcome of the Cabinet formation will be … to perhaps indicate what they demanded and how unfairly they have been treated thereafter. I think it was a sign, an act of bad faith, given that this (the statement of intent) is a document of good faith that we all signed. But this is not unexpected in negotiations of this kind,” said Herron.

“I thought, when I read the letter, that the DA are making demands that are so unreasonable that it will give them an opportunity to walk out.

“On the other hand, in any negotiations, you go in with your best ask and you compromise down from there. So, there are two ways of reading it (the letter) and I did read it first thinking this is the basis for telling the public why they are pulling out if they don’t get their own way. But it could have been the typical negotiating style of saying this is our top ask, but we have a bottom line that we are prepared to move to,” he said.

On Monday, it was reported that following the DA’s intentions of getting 12 Cabinet posts in the GNU, including that of the deputy president, the ANC said that President Ramaphosa has the final word on the appointment of the Cabinet.

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