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By Themba Siwela

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Will DA's federal chair and coalition negotiator Helen Zille derail the Government of National Unity?


Helen Zille’s role in the Government of National Unity (GNU) has come under scrutiny and debate.

The DA federal chair was among the party’s coalition negotiators with the ANC.

Six parties; the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), GOOD, Patriotic Alliance (PA), Pan Africanist Congress, and Inkatha Freedom Party have signed a memorandum of intent to form a government.

Several other parties are expected to form part of the GNU in the coming days.

‘Gatekeeping’

However, the GNU came under scrutiny this week when Zille corrected ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula on several clauses of the agreement.

She said the ANC should consult with the DA before adding parties to the coalition.

ALSO READ: Zille’s sharp reprimand to Mbalula was ‘justified’ – analyst

Her comments sparked debate and accusations of “gatekeeping” by the DA.

In his inauguration address at the Union Buildings on Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he would work with anyone who aligned with the objectives of peace and job creation. It was seen by some as a dig at the DA for wanting to police who joined the coalition.

Critics warned that her role and public remarks on the GNU could derail the agreement.

GNU: Watch out!

However, elections analyst Wayne Sussman said parties should keep an eye on the GNU.

“There may have been some hiccups and tussles between the ANC and the DA, but the overwhelming spirit of engagement and cooperation is something we should pay more attention to.

ALSO READ: Who joined GNU first? Parties push back against Zille’s comment on PA

“The parties have entered into a remarkable agreement, which has been negotiated in a short space of time. At this stage, there is much going for it than less.”

Correction justified- Analyst

Political analyst Sandile Swana said Mbalula and the ANC were in the wrong.

“The admonishing of Mbalula by Zille and her complaint about the PA coming into the GNU fold without the ANC first consulting the DA and the IFP shows mismanagement of the GNU agreement by the ANC.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘ANC will sign agreement with all parties that agree to form GNU’

“What is clear is that the ANC has signed an agreement which is not in line with its culture.

“The DA finds it prudent to remind the ANC that the time in which it finds itself is that of not making generous decisions to invite all and sundry into the GNU,” said Swana.

Additional reporting by Brian Sokutu

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