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By Hein Kaiser

Journalist


DA-ANC coalition: A path to stability or political risk?

Potential coalition between DA and ANC discussed for governance balance. Analysts weigh risks and benefits amidst coalition talks.


Many of the political campaign hatchets appear to have been buried as political parties get down to the business of building a new government in a conciliatory manner.

According to sources close to the ANC’s working group, meetings between parties have been relatively calm with a single objective, to ensure stability and carve out a way forward.

According to the source, the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party, now the fourth-largest, is the only organisation which did not read the room and went in guns blazing. Their demands included the removal of President Cyril Ramaphosa and control of energy. When this stonewalled, MK made its exit … for now.

PA briefly met with the ANC

The Patriotic Alliance (PA) said it had already met briefly with the ANC. The party’s Charles Cilliers said only one issue was raised.

“The ANC asked us if we were willing to work with them, to which we replied we would,” he said. “There’s nothing more to share right now.”

A source close to the ANC said the PA didn’t just agree to work with the ANC, but raised the issue of home affairs, assuming control of the department and ridding the country of illegal foreigners. Cilliers denied that.

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A Democratic Alliance (DA) member close to the negotiating team said the party wanted what was best for South Africa.

The ANC source, meanwhile, said one of the proposals the DA put forward was to hold the speaker position and not occupy any posts in Ramaphosa’s new Cabinet.

Executive branch under ANC control with DA legislative branch

Political analyst Dr Oscar van Heerden of the University of Johannesburg said a coalition where the executive branch remained under ANC control with a DA legislative branch might be the best way forward.

It would also be the best outcome for the ANC, as a coalition in the usual sense of the word could mean writing its own political death sentence.

“This way, the ANC saves face and the DA can remain in opposition, yet be an active role player in government,” he said. “Key here is that the DA must not be too obstructionist because they could render government useless.”

Smaller parties would obviously lean toward a government of national unity, said Van Heerden.

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“This way they can be accommodated and not become insignificant,” he said.

Boiled down to who would compromise

But it all boiled down to who would be prepared to compromise on their key policy issues.

“This is not the time to kowtow to demands and disunify the country,” he said.

He cautioned against an ANC, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and MK coalition because that would take the country 20 steps back.

He believed that was an unlikely outcome because speculation about similarities between the EFF and MK as a natural fit with the ANC were off the mark.

“Remember where the EFF and, more recently, MK came from. There is little chance of a kiss and make up session.

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“MK is a direct result of the ANC renewal project under Ramaphosa, where it began getting rid of rotten apples and started marginalising corrupt individuals, getting them to step aside.

“They started turning the screws inside the ANC and within an ANC-run state, so corrupt elements found it more difficult to operate,” he said.

Zuma and MK party must face full might of the law

If MK did not get what it wanted and its leader Jacob Zuma made good on his promise of trouble, said Van Heerden, then both he and the MK party must face the full might of the law.

“Jacob Zuma must do what Jacob Zuma does,” he said. “And if he breaks the law, he must go back to jail.”

The John Steenhuisen-led DA would not be drawn on the ANC insider’s suggestion that the party would not talk to the EFF because of the red beret’s conduct in local government.

The DA also did not respond about whether it had put the position of speaker of the National Assembly, or oversight of the legislative branch of government on the agenda as its starting point.

ALSO READ: ANC, DA and IFP likely to form core coalition, says political analyst

The ANC source said the working group had met yesterday while the DA and the Inkatha Freedom Party were apparently in talks, but this is unconfirmed.

Only workable option is DA-ANC

Van Heerden said the only workable option was a DA-ANC coalition and for any other party to get in on the action, it would have to agree to the independence of the three arms of state, executive, legislative and judiciary.

“It’s the fundamentals that matter now,” Van Heerden said.

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