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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Al Jama-ah hopes joining GNU will keep Joburg mayor in place, weaken DA

Al Jama-ah said it aims to weaken the DA's influence from the inside and eventually have the party thrown out.


The Al Jama-ah party said it joined the Government of National Unity (GNU) to weaken the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) influence from the inside and eventually have the party thrown out.

On Friday, Al Jam-ah became the tenth party to join the GNU reneging on its previous decision not to enter into a coalition comprising the DA.

Weakening the DA

Party leader Ganief Hendricks said one of Al Jama-ah’s reasons for joining the GNU would contribute to weakening the DA’s influence and powers.

“This new configuration allows smaller parties to boost the ANC’s bargaining abilities; thus, not only weakening the DA and its allies’, but with the hope to sideline them or throwing them off board.”

“Al Jama-ah’s decision to join the GNU is based on viewing the ANC’s statement of intent through a different lens; the re-crafted statement of intent differs from that the ANC had in mind with the DA and this reconfiguration does not imply being ‘in bed’ with the DA as claimed by many,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks said after joining the GNU, Al Jama-ah believes it has secured the future of its councillor Kabelo Gwamanda as Johannesburg Mayor.

“The bilateral relationships we have built up historically over the last 10 years, will now be strengthened by the fact that we are part of the political assembly (GNU) and in that political assembly it will be on merit so if Gwamanda is doing a good job and that is brought before a panel, surely they will keep him in power.”

ALSO READ: DA eyes 11 cabinet positions in GNU Cabinet

DA gunning for control

Meanwhile, while the focus appears to be purely on negotiations for ministerial positions in the GNU, the DA is also gunning for control of the administration in key departments.

The DA set out its preferences in a leaked letter from federal chair Helen Zille to ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula.

The party has its eyes set on eleven cabinet positions and their deputies. The letter includes a demand for the deputy president post.

“The cabinet positions the DA holds should rightly include the post of Deputy President, as is standard practice in similar governments around the world.

“We can only agree to give up that post if it is replaced with both a Minister in the Presidency, who is also designated as the Leader of Government Business and participates fully in the policy development and monitoring responsibilities of the Presidency, and a Deputy Minister of Finance, who participates fully in the development of the budget,” the letter read.

Representation

The letter also stated that it is “reasonable and fair that the DA should have representation across all cabinet clusters”.

The DA is also eyeing directors-general in the departments it gains, and the “reviewing” of all tenders for those departments since the president promulgated the election.

ALSO READ: ‘Hopes of SA pinned on success of GNU’ − Ramaphosa

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