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By Hein Kaiser


GNU: Analysts lean towards ANC, DA and IFP coalition

Speculation swirls as South Africa edges closer to a potential government of national unity formation. Decisions must be made by Friday.

In less than 24 hours, South Africans will have an idea – or not – of what the proposed government of national unity might look like.

As time runs out for parties, commentators and analysts lean towards an ANC, Democratic Alliance and Inkatha Freedom Party coalition, amid fresh speculation about who would get the plum jobs when the ink dries.

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How it could look

DA leader John Steenhuisen would be the balanced choice as a second-in-command, said one analyst, where he could serve as a counterweight in the executive. But it may further condemn President Cyril Ramaphosa’s already tenuous power grip on the ANC.

Dr Oscar van Heerden of the University of Johannesburg said it could be political suicide for the ANC to open the door for the DA.

“Chances are that Steenhuisen would be awarded a high-profile department or post in government, but as deputy president it may be a step too far at this point in the country’s history,” he said.

Charles Cilliers of the Patriotic Alliance could not be drawn on how the party would feel serving in a government led by an ANC executive with the DA as second in charge.

“The DA must agree to a deal that works for them and we will do the same. Together, the two parties have enough votes for Steenhuisen to be whatever they want him to be, so the viability of such an arrangement is simple mathematics,” he said, adding that the PA only speaks for itself.

On the eve of a possibly historic first session of the new parliament, it seems that parties are deeply divided in their own ranks.

The IFP’s uncertainty about its direction in the negotiations were widely reported, while DA insiders say at grassroots level many party representatives question whether talks should proceed with the ANC, or whether remaining in opposition would be a better option.

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However, said a DA public representative who made it back to office for the seventh administration, should negotiations be constructive and a government of national unity hammered out, Steenhuisen as deputy president would be a step in the right direction, with downstream executive functions equitably shared between all participating parties.

“Everyone must have an opportunity to deliver to their electorate,” he said.

DA officials were not available for comment, but Steenhuisen said last week positions remain secondary to policies and values and that is what the DA’s negotiating framework represents. Federal executive chair Helen Zille could also not be drawn on further comments.

A well-placed source inside the ANC’s Gauteng structures said a meeting yesterday appraised structures of the current status quo, and revealed there were still no clear direction.

The source said in Gauteng and nationally, the DA might be a natural choice, but the challenge would be acceptance at grassroots level.

The DA is still seen as the enemy by ANC voters and engagement with the party must be managed with kid gloves.

“A DA deputy presidency is not a bad idea,” the ANC source said, “but we must first understand every aspect of a very complex situation right now and there is no time left.”

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