South Africa's ANC wants national unity government

AFP , Wednesday 5 Jun 2024

South Africa's ruling ANC said Wednesday it had reached out to rivals to form a national unity government, after failing to win an outright majority in last week's general election.

African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, during a news briefing at the
African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, during a news briefing at the party headquarters in Johannesburg, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. AP


The final tally gave President Cyril Ramaphosa's African National Congress 159 members in the 400-seat National Assembly, its lowest score in a general election.

ANC spokeswoman Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told reporters the party held "explorative" talks with several others, as it attempts to secure enough parliamentary support to form a government and elect a president.

Its decision-making body was to meet on Thursday to vet all options, including trying to form a minority government, she said.

But the conversation focused "on a government of national unity because this is what the people of South Africa said to us," she said.

"We have been meeting with all parties that are keen to contribute ideas on how we can collectively move our country forward and form a government that ensures national unity and stability," said Bengu-Motsiri.

Among those consulted were parties with radically different agendas, such as the centre-right Democratic Alliance, the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party.

Bengu-Motsiri named the EFF, which supports land redistribution and the nationalisation of key economic sectors, and the anti-immigration Patriotic Alliance, as the parties that so far appear willing to join a broad coalition.

Which groups would "finally form part" of such a government was however "a function of ongoing negotiations", she said.

The ANC also "repeatedly" reached out to former President Jacob Zuma's uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party, which won a surprising 14.6 per cent of the vote, but was snubbed, receiving no response.

MK has rejected the election results and threatened to boycott parliament.

It has also said it would not back an ANC-led government if Ramaphosa remains at the helm. The president's party plans to keep him.

The briefing followed a meeting of the ANC's top leaders, set to chart a way forward for the party after its poor showing at the ballot.

The ANC won 40 per cent -- a catastrophic slump from the 57.5 per cent it garnered in 2019.

The new parliament is to meet in less than two weeks and its first task will be to elect a president to form a new government.

Short link: