Bargaining around Cabinet delays formation of national unity government in South Africa

Bargaining around Cabinet delays formation of national unity government in South Africa

Political analyst tells Anadolu talks usually take time when many political parties are involved

By Hassan Isilow

Lengthy negotiations and bargaining have played a role in delaying South African President Cyril Ramaphosa from announcing his Cabinet in the Government of National Unity (GNU), experts told Anadolu on Tuesday.

“The delayed announcement of a Cabinet tells us there are protracted negotiations going on. There could be a lack of consensus among GNU partners on the allocation of Cabinet portfolios,” said political analyst Edwin Yingi.

Yingi said there have also been leaks of documents from the second largest political party, Democratic Alliance (DA), that have circulated on social media that said it is demanding 12 cabinet posts, including the deputy president’s position. The DA has 84 seats in the National Assembly.

The African National Congress (ANC), once led by Nelson Mandela, ruled South Africa without a coalition for three decades until it lost its majority in national elections in May.

The ANC received 40.18% of the vote, thus getting 159 seats in the National Assembly. It could not form a government on its own.

Ramaphosa, who is the ANC’s party leader and head of state, said the party agreed to form the GNU that would include all parties to move the country forward.

The ANC reached a deal with the DA, the Patriotic Alliance (PA) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) two weeks ago in which Ramaphosa was reelected by parliament as president for a second term in the first sitting of the legislature. He defeated Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF) who received 44 votes to 283 for Ramaphosa.

Several other parties have since joined the GNU bringing the number to 10 with the exception of some left-wing parties, including the radical EFF which has 39 seats and former President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party with 58 seats in parliament, among others.

ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula said Monday that the GNU will not be held ransom by any single party, referring to the demands of the DA.

Political analyst Dirk Kotze told Anadolu that delays in announcing the Cabinet are definitely about negotiations.

“There are usually long negotiations in any coalition government. We have seen this in other parts of the world,” he said, adding that a coalition, such as in the case of South Africa, could take time because of the numerous parties involved in talks.

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