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Ramaphosa takes firm stance against GNU squabbles


President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government of national unity cannot be preoccupied with jockeying for positions, tussles over appointments or squabbles within and between parties.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo, Parliament of SA

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa said the government of national unity (GNU) cannot be preoccupied with jockeying for positions, tussles over appointments or squabbles within and between parties.

Penning his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa said the country’s hopes are pinned on the success of the GNU and political parties need to work together.

Ramaphosa, who was elected for a second term following the country’s May 29 elections, described the formation of the GNU has a momentous development in South Africa’s democracy.

To this end, Ramaphosa said every effort must be made to ensure that the GNU remains true to its founding spirit of collaboration in good faith to drive a programme that improves the lives of all South Africa’s people.

Ramaphosa’s sentiments come following apparent squabbles between the signatories.


This is not the first time that SA will be governed by a GNU. Ramaphosa explained that the first GNU was established in 1994 to promote nation building and inclusivity from a racially-divided past during a period of political transition.

“Among its main tasks was to ensure the passage of a new democratic Constitution. Giving effect to the principles of that Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be the overriding focus of this GNU.”

He said that this will be done by pursing a common programme to eradicate poverty and build a more equal society, to create jobs, and to make government truly work for the people.

“The GNU Statement of Intent provides a solid base for genuine cooperation between parties across the political spectrum who have signed up of their own accord.”


“The Statement of Intent commits the signatories to a set of foundational principles that include respect for constitutionalism; accountability, transparency and community participation in government; evidence-based policy and decision-making; professionalisation of the public service; integrity and good governance.”

The president said signatories in the GNU have agreed on the priorities of the incoming administration.

“At the top of the list of priorities is the achievement of rapid, inclusive and sustainable economic growth to create jobs. It will be critical that the GNU stays the course on the structural reform that is under way to improve the business operating environment and establish South Africa as an investment destination of choice,” he said.

Ramaphosa added that the reforms are necessary to resolve historic challenges in key industries and create jobs.

He said emanating from the priorities outlined in the Statement of Intent, the parties will further refine the GNU’s programme, including through the proposed National Dialogue process.

“We remain committed to consensus-building and to the representation of a broad range of interests and viewpoints within government. At the same time, we are all keenly aware that South Africans expect action, implementation and results.

Ramaphosa pointed out that, in a robust defence of the first GNU in 1994, President Nelson Mandela described it as an enduring national consensus “that is neither an imposition of one party over others, nor a honeymoon premised on the fickle whims of a fleeting romance”.

“The same is true today. As parties finalise the modalities of the GNU guided by the Statement of Intent, the days and weeks that lie ahead will be crucial. The country’s hopes are pinned on the success of the GNU.

“Our stated commitment to work together constructively and for South Africa’s benefit has generated a great deal of goodwill that we should not squander. South Africans are watching. We should not waste our energies on those who stand in the way of our country’s progress or lose momentum over differences that can be resolved,” Ramaphosa said.


The African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Patriotic Alliance (PA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), GOOD, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), Freedom Front Plus (FF+), United Democratic Movement (UDM), Rise Mzansi and Al Jama-ah.

Political parties that have signed the Government of National Unity Statement of Intent. Picture: ANC / X

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