GNU on the rocks: ANC hits back at Zille’s ‘leaked letter’ demanding cabinet positions as ‘outrageous’ and ‘outlandish’

All eyes will be on the South African markets and the rand’s strength as coalition talks continue. IOL graphic

All eyes will be on the South African markets and the rand’s strength as coalition talks continue. IOL graphic

Published Jun 24, 2024


Following the DA’s intentions of getting 12 cabinet posts, including that of the deputy president (DP) in the Government of National Unity (GNU), the ANC says President Cyril Ramaphosa has the final word on the appointment of the cabinet.

On Sunday, the DA federal chair Helen Zille wrote a letter, that IOL had seen, to ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, informing him that her party wanted around12 ministerial positions in the GNU.

This also included the DA approving the appointments of directors-general for all departments under its control - in what many on social media said was akin to “cadre deployment”.

“That Directors General in departments reporting to Democratic Alliance ministers are selected by panels consisting of Democratic Alliance ministers, and submitted to the President for his approval, and that such approval cannot reasonably be withheld,” Zille’s letter reads.

The DA preferred the following portfolios:

- Economic Sectors, Investment, Employment and Infrastructure Development.

- Social Protection, Community and Human Development.

- Governance, State Capacity and Institutional Development.

- Justice, Crime Prevention and Security.

- International Cooperation, Trade and Security.

The DA said it can only agree to give up the deputy president position if it is replaced with both a Minister in the Presidency and a Deputy Minister of Finance.

For the positions, DA wants a DP who is also designated as the Leader of Government Business and participates fully in the policy development and monitoring responsibilities of the Presidency, and a Deputy Minister of Finance, who participates fully in the development of the budget.

But DA’s Richard Newton confirmed the authenticity of the letter and told IOL that some of the demands had already been ironed out between the parties.

He could not say which demands had been “ironed out”.

Responding to the DA’s demands, the ANC called it outlandish and outrageous, stating that no single party can hold the GNU to ransom.

This is after the DA’s demands were leaked to the media and also on social media.

“Negotiating through leaking demands to the media is an act of bad faith and this practice will not help the cause of any party. It is only the President who has the final say on the appointment of his Cabinet. The GNU cannot be held to ransom by any single party,” the ANC said.

While the delays continued to plague the announcement of the cabinet, the party maintained that the people needed a government to be established sooner, rather than later.

In a statement, the ANC confirmed that Phase two of the establishment of the GNU was underway with the anticipated announcement of cabinet positions by Ramaphosa drawing close.

Ramaphosa was inaugurated as president last week at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The ANC - in power for the past 30-years - resorted to the GNU after losing its more than 50% majority in parliament after managing just 45% of the national vote at the 2024 Elections.

So far, ten parties including the ANC, DA, IFP, PA, FF+, UDM, RISE Mzansi, Al Jamah, PAC, and GOOD have joined to form part of the GNU.

All these parties represent a majority of over 70% (287) of the 400 seats in the National Assembly. But with more smaller parties joining the GNU the possibility of doing a deal without the DA had become the centre of much chatter on social media.

The ANC said it was committed and open to working with all the parties.

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