South Africa

WATCH: DA to get six ministerial positions and four deputies in new GNU

Steenhuisen and Ramaphosa

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is expected to get six ministerial positions and four deputies in the government of national unity (GNU) including the coveted position of leader of government business.

DA leader John Steenhuisen, has long had his eye on this influential position, the City Press reported.

The African National Congress (ANC) and the DA  pledged to cooperate through a voluntary GNU through the signing of a Statement of Intent.

Watch Fikile Mbalula speaking about South Africa not being a failed democracy

ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula and DA Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille signed the document which aims to foster trust between the electorate and the parties that will make up the GNU, including the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

Both parties concluded their negotiations for a GNU on Thursday night, with President Cyril Ramaphosa expected to finalise what had been decided.

Positions

According to City Press, the DA will get six ministerial positions and four deputies, while the IFP will get two ministerial positions and possibly one deputy minister’s position.

A source privy to the negotiations told the paper the agreement will also cascade to the provincial legislatures.

“For example, since the IFP got the premiership of KwaZulu-Natal, it will also get three MEC positions. The ANC got the position of Speaker; it will also get three MEC positions as the third-largest party in that province.”

The source said the DA was set to get two MEC positions and more chairperson portfolios, while the National Freedom Party (NFP) and others would get the remaining MEC portfolio.

In Gauteng, it would be the other way around, with the ANC getting more positions, followed by the DA, while the IFP would get a few, according to the paper.

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Almost no GNU

The paper also reported that two words, an argument about what “sufficient consensus” on government decisions and policies entailed and a spelling error almost derailed the GNI at the eleventh hour, after two weeks of intensive negotiations.

Ramaphosa lowered the threshold for “sufficient consensus” from 60% to 50% of the voter support represented by the GNU parties in the National Assembly.

The DA received the revised version on Friday before 7am, about three hours before the first MPs in the National Assembly were to be sworn in, but refused to sign the altered agreement and negotiations resumed.

Only at 11.30am, after Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had already begun swearing in MPs, did the ANC agree that the threshold for “sufficient consensus” be raised back to 60% and that the parties’ number of seats in the National Assembly be broadly considered in the allocation of Cabinet posts.

SA not failed democracy

On Saturday, Mbalula says South Africa is not a failed democracy.

“Despite our differences and despite the opposition even from within, we have showed maturity to the world that South Africa indeed is not a failed democracy. It is maturing and it is at the level of the advanced democracies on the African continent and the world and Nelson Mandela was smiling on us.”

Mbalula said the election of Ramaphosa as President and Thoko Didiza as National Assembly (NA) Chairperson reaffirmed the ANC’s commitment to form a GNU, which allowed them to work with other parties.

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