DA’s Steenhuisen not guaranteed presidency as opposition parties reach coalition agreement
The Multi-Party Charter has officially agreed to sign a coalition agreement ahead of the 2024 general elections.
DA leader John Steenhuisen speaks during a media briefing on 16 August 2023. Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen
The Multi-Party Charter, a coalition between seven political parties, have officially agreed to join forces ahead of the 2024 general elections after finding common ground on key policies.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and its “moonshot pact” partners continued discussions about a coalition agreement on day two of the multiparty national convention held at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park on Thursday.
After settling on a name and vision on the first day, the independent chairperson of the national convention, Professor William Gumede, announced on Thursday that there was now a pre-election coalition after robust negotiations.
“It is very historic,” he said during a media briefing.
According to the agreement, the parties will not entertain working or co-governing with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) or African National Congress (ANC).
Earlier in the day, Gumede revealed that the parties reached an agreement on three key points.
However, they have also committed to further engage and work on a fully-fledged policy agreement in the coming months.
“You cannot agree on each and every policy in two days, but agree on key policies. So, they have done that,” he said.
Power sharing, executive positions
The professor indicated that the political leaders have reached an agreement on the principles of power sharing, including how the parties would work together and allocate ministerial positions and parliamentary seats if they come into power.
“Many coalitions have failed because they cannot agree on how to share power,” Gumede said.
“Every party will still have an individual identity, but will still be part of a coalition. It’s very new in the South African circumstance, but once the election results are out, they will then deal with representation among themselves according to how much the party would have received in the election.”
Gumede also said the parties have agreed to use the principle of merit in appointing people to go to government.
“They will look for the best candidate for a position based on merit and not politics or cadre deployment. There would be a shift in the way things are conducted in the country. This is quite an important principle,” he said.
He added that the leaders also agreed that the same party cannot lead in both the executive and legislature arms of government.
“They will try, on principle, to make certain that a diversity of parties are representation in the executive positions and legislative. If one party is dominant in the legislature, the same party cannot be dominant in the executive.”
Watch the briefing below:
Furthermore, the parties have agreed to lifestyle audits of all the executives.
There was no requirement that the leader of the largest party, likely to be the DA, would be nominated for the position of president.
“So in the event that the group decides that the party within the coalition gets the most votes its leader won’t necessarily become the president, but then the largest party would be the leader of government business,” Gumede explained.
The Multi-Party Charter, in addition agreed to relook at the design of the Cabinet and the way it is currently structured because they are of the view that the executive, in its current form, was bloated.
Leaders of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus, Spectrum National Party, United Independent Movement, and Independent South African National Organisation (Isanco) publicly signed the coalition agreement on Thursday.