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ANC And DA Form Historic Coalition In South Africa

IN a landmark political shift, the African National Congress (ANC) and its main rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), announced on Friday their agreement to form a government of national unity in South Africa. This unprecedented coalition follows the ANC losing its majority for the first time in 30 years during the May 29 elections.

‘Today, South Africa is a better country than it was yesterday,’ declared DA leader John Steenhuisen in a televised address. ‘For the first time since 1994, we’ve embarked on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power to a new government that will be different from the previous one.’

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The agreement marks a momentous political development since Nelson Mandela led the ANC to victory in the 1994 elections, ending apartheid. The new coalition underscores a significant departure from the ANC’s long-standing dominance.

Coalition dynamics and legislative proceedings

The newly formed government includes not only the ANC and DA but also the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the right-wing Patriotic Alliance. ‘Today marks the beginning of a new era where we put our differences aside and unite for the betterment of all South Africans,’ commented Sihle Zikalala, an ANC governing body member, on social media.

The National Assembly convened in a Cape Town convention centre due to fire damage at its permanent venue. Lawmakers were sworn in, followed by the election of the speaker, deputy speaker, and the president. President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to secure a new term with the coalition’s support, and a DA source confirmed the party would gain the deputy speaker post as part of the deal.

Investor reactions and future prospects

Investors have welcomed the coalition, anticipating policy continuity and potential reforms. ‘The prospect of a coalition involving the ANC and DA is being well received by investors,’ noted a report from London-based Capital Economics.

The ANC secured 159 out of 400 seats, while the DA garnered 87. The inclusion of the IFP, with its Zulu ethnic base, and the Patriotic Alliance, supported by the coloured community, aims to broaden the coalition’s appeal.

Challenges and exclusions

The coalition excludes the populist uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, led by former President Jacob Zuma, and the hard-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The MK party, alleging electoral fraud, is boycotting the new parliament after the Constitutional Court rejected its claims. The Independent Electoral Commission upheld the election results as free and fair.

As South Africa navigates this new political landscape, the focus remains on fostering economic growth, job creation, and infrastructural development under the newly formed government of national unity.

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