Politics editor
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Opposition pact: Cabinet ministers will be appointed on merit, says chair

By Clive Ndou

Professor William Gumede said the agreement was reached following 'robust discussions'

Professor William Gumede. Photo: Twitter
Professor William Gumede. Photo: Twitter

Only suitable individuals with the correct skills and qualifications will be appointed to Cabinet should the multi-party coalition win next year’s general elections.

This is according to an agreement reached by leaders of the seven political parties at their two-day multi-party convention, which closed in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The political parties, which decided to adopt the name “Multi-Party Charter for South Africa”, agreed that Cabinet appointments will be based on merit and not on political considerations.

Briefing the media on Thursday, Professor William Gumede, who assumed the role of independent chairperson at the two-day convention, said the agreement was reached following “robust discussions”.

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“They agreed on the principle of merit-based appointments,” Gumede said. Parties participating in the two-day convention were the DA, ActionSA, IFP, FF+, Spectrum National Party, United Independent Movement and the Independent South African National Civics Organisation (ISANCO).

The parties, which agreed to work towards dislodging the ANC from power in next year’s general elections, will form a national coalition government should they collectively garner a majority vote at the polls.

First mooted by the DA during the party’s federal congress in April, the idea of an opposition pact is in line with what has been happening in municipalities across the country, where opposition parties formed coalition governments in councils which the ANC could not get a 50% plus one majority.

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When the DA unveiled the idea of a pact to unseat the ruling party, the country’s official opposition made it clear that political parties such as the Patriotic Alliance and ABC will be barred from participating in the pact as they were known for supporting the ANC.

However, during the two-day discussions, it was agreed to invite more parties to the pact.
This was after concerns that the seven parties might not receive enough votes to dislodge the ANC from power.

Once in power, Gumede said, the coalition party will strengthen the position of leader of government business, which is currently held by Deputy President Paul Mashatile. The leader of government business position, Gumede said, was key as it deals with the co-ordination of the work of government and the legislature.

They have agreed that the leader of the largest party in the bloc will become the leader of government business

Further, the parties agreed that all members of the coalition Cabinet will be subjected to lifestyle audits.
“They also agreed that the Cabinet should reflect the country’s diversity,” Gumede added.