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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

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

Political tension mounts as ANC and DA leaders clash over the government of national unity's expansion in SA.

Amid the political spat sparked by DA federal council chair Helen Zille challenging remarks by ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, that the ANC was open to other parties joining the government of national unity (GNU), a leading elections analyst was yesterday hopeful about the protagonists patching up their differences.

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

Responding to Mbalula’s remarks, Zille said GNU partners should be consulted about the opening up of the structure set to govern South Africa to other parties, like the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

Points of contention

She said Clause 17 of the GNU agreement stated that appointments to the executive should be done in consultation “with the leaders of the respective parties of the members considered for appointment”.

“So, you can’t just let anybody come in without consulting with us,” said Zille.

This has led to PA leader Gayton McKenzie rubbishing Zille’s assertions.

While finding nothing wrong with leaders speaking publicly and informing supporters about the intricacies of the GNU, elections analyst Wayne Sussman, was hopeful about “GNU partners finding each other”.

“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.

“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.”

ALSO READ: Zille: DA will not support motion of no confidence against Ramaphosa

Sussman said leaders should explain the thinking behind the GNU and its modalities to supporters.

“I think parties are entitled to speak out to their supporters in public. When you are negotiating a coalition, it is important that you explain that to your supporters.

“To ANC, DA and [Inkatha Freedom Party] supporters who voted their leaders to go to parliament, supporters did not expect a government of national unity.

“It is important for party leaders to take supporters along with them.”

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

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

“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 the ruling party finds itself is that of not making generous decisions to invite all and sundry into the GNU,” said Swana.

DA pivotal to decisions

The DA, he said, had “a 30% voting power in the GNU, with the 60% sufficient consensus unable to be met without the DA at this stage”.

“But if the ANC continues to submit more members, that can water down the requirement for consultations before decisions are taken.

“Zille has made it clear that she wants to protect her party interests – that she has a veto power in the coalition,” he said.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa: Don’t be afraid of the GNU

“I have always warned that the ANC is not going to survive with a veto power of Zille and the DA.

“The veto power Zille holds means the ANC can only implement those matters agreed with the DA [which] has full power to stop anything it does not agree with.

“Unless the ANC is prepared to humble itself under a DA dictatorship for the next five years, the lifespan of the GNU is bound to be short.”

Following the general election, the ANC received its worst result since apartheid ended in 1994 – only garnering 40% of the vote and losing its absolute majority in parliament.

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