Tensions mount ahead of S.Africa coalition govt formation

AFP , Monday 24 Jun 2024

South Africa's weakened African National Congress (ANC) denounced on Monday "outrageous demands" for cabinet positions by its coalition partners in documents leaked to the press amid negotiations to form a government.

SOuth Africa Opposition
In this file photo, Main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader, John Steenhuisen, delivers his speech at a final election rally in Benoni, South Africa. AP


President Cyril Ramaphosa, 71, who has been re-elected for a second full term, will lead what his ANC calls a government of national unity after losing its outright majority in the May 29 general election.

The historied ANC of the late Nelson Mandela has governed South Africa since the advent of democracy in 1994 but only scored 40 percent of the vote last month.

The ANC "notes with concern that some parties have been making outlandish and outrageous demands for specific cabinet positions in the media," the party said in a statement.

In recent days, local media have reported tensions in negotiations between the ANC and the largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which won 87 parliamentary seats compared to the ANC's 159.

Ramaphosa faces having to balance demands for key ministerial posts from his party and its new allies, as well as mediating diverging views to agree on a common policy agenda on the economy and other pressing matters.

But almost a month after the vote, no official communication has been made on the number of portfolios that will go to the new parties in government.

The head of state is expected to announce an "inclusive" cabinet in the coming days.

The national unity government has 10 parties in total, including the DA, the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party and other smaller groups.

A document, apparently from the DA and showing its letterhead outlining a list of preferred cabinet positions, has circulated on social media, stirring debate among South Africans.

"It is... reasonable and fair that the DA should have representation across all cabinet clusters. To speed matters along, we set out here our preferred portfolios," the document reads.

The list includes the energy, transport, justice, home affairs and foreign ministries, among others.

"Negotiating through leaking demands to the media is an act of bad faith and this practice will not help the cause of any party," the ANC said.

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