ANC decides on government of national unity


The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) decided after hours of deliberation to form a government of national unity after the party lost its absolute majority in the just-concluded national election.

The ANC got 40% of the vote – its lowest support yet – and for the first time has to work together with other parties to govern the country.

“We therefore agreed that we are going to invite political parties to form a government of national unity as the best option to take our country forward,” said pres. Cyril Ramaphosa said after the marathon meeting.

Negotiators from the ANC have already held talks with several parties, including the EFF, the IVP, the DA and the PA. However, it is not clear at this stage which parties will side with the decision.

“The goal of a government of national unity must first and foremost deal with the issues that South Africans want addressed. These include job creation and economic growth, high cost of living, service delivery, crime and corruption,” he said.

The result of the election provides an opportunity to take a more inclusive and collaborative approach to government. “A unity government is the most viable, efficient and powerful way to meet the expectations of South Africans at this stage.”

Ramaphosa also said that after the election results were announced last week, there was some fear that this could lead to division and instability. There were also election campaigns that could give rise to polarization and “fear that South Africans would not be able to cooperate”.

According to the president, the NEC decided that action must be taken in a way that includes the largest group of people and that those who “want to cause chaos, instability and division will be isolated”.

Principles must align

The ANC had earlier already agreed on specific principles that would guide the party’s approach to cooperation with other parties in coalitions. These principles are based on the promotion of a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous nation. All partners must also commit to shared values, nation building and social cohesion.

“These values ​​include respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, social justice and equality, human dignity, non-racialism and non-sexism. It also includes stability, accountability, transparency, integrity, community participation and good governance,” said Ramaphosa.

All agreements must be put in writing. It should also be made available and should include measures to hold parties accountable. Ramaphosa says the ANC’s approach to provincial governments – where he also does not have an absolute majority – will be based on the same principles.

“The ANC realizes that we differ ideologically and politically from various parties in the political landscape. However, we will not rule out the possibility of working with any party, as long as it is in the public interest and in line with the principles I have outlined,” said Ramaphosa.

The ANC has already informed its alliance partners about its intention.