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ANC In Last-minute Talks To Form SA’s Next Government

THE African National Congress (ANC) is holding last-minute negotiations with other political parties to determine the composition of South Africa’s next government, ahead of the newly elected parliament’s convening on Friday. The ANC, which has governed since the end of apartheid 30 years ago, lost its majority in the May 29 election, plunging the country into political uncertainty.

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet in Cape Town on Friday to elect the speaker, deputy speaker, and the country’s president, pressuring the ANC and other parties to decide who will govern. Decisions are expected to be announced Thursday evening.

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While President Cyril Ramaphosa is anticipated to secure a new term, the structure of the new government remains unclear. ANC leaders met at the Cape Sun hotel to discuss plans, with Ramaphosa signalling silence on the talks’ outcome.

The ANC recently expressed a preference for a broad-based government of national unity, engaging in discussions with diverse parties, including the pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA) and the hard-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) indicated its willingness to join a governing alliance with the ANC and DA, although confirmation from the involved parties is still pending. The ANC remains the largest party with 159 out of 400 seats, followed by the DA with 87, Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party with 58, the EFF with 39, and the IFP with 17.

A coalition involving the DA would be favourable to big businesses and financial markets due to its free-market policies but may be unpopular among ANC supporters who view the DA as representing the interests of the privileged white minority. The inclusion of the DA would also exclude support from the EFF, which has a contentious relationship with the DA.

Julius Malema, EFF leader, reiterated opposition to a coalition including the DA and the far-right Freedom Front Plus, labelling the DA as an enemy. The DA has similarly ruled out collaborating with the EFF, whose policies include nationalising banks and mines and seizing white-owned land.

Analysts suggest that the IFP, a socially conservative party with a Zulu base, could help ease the DA’s acceptance among ANC grassroots supporters.

The ANC’s National Executive Committee is set to meet in Cape Town to review negotiations and make decisions, with an expected briefing to follow. The stance of Zuma’s MK party remains a wildcard, given its strong provincial performance in KwaZulu-Natal and allegations of vote-rigging. MK’s application to halt parliament’s convening was dismissed by the Constitutional Court.

Despite overtures from other parties, MK is not expected to join the national government but remains influential in KwaZulu-Natal, where it won 45.4 percent of the vote, surpassing the IFP and ANC.

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