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South Africa’s Unity Government Now Has Five Parties

THE African National Congress (ANC) announced on Monday that South Africa’s new government now includes five political parties, representing more than two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly. Ongoing discussions aim to bring more parties into the coalition.

Following the recent election, the ANC was compelled to form alliances after failing to secure a parliamentary majority for the first time since the 1994 election that ended apartheid. ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected as president by parliament on Friday, with support from the ANC’s largest rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and two smaller parties: the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA).


On Monday, the ANC confirmed that the GOOD party had also joined the unity government pact. This coalition now represents 273 seats in the 400-seat National Assembly, or 68 percent, according to an ANC statement.

Breakdown of seats:

  • ANC: 159 seats
  • DA: 87 seats
  • IFP: 17 seats
  • PA: 9 seats
  • GOOD: 1 seat

The ANC stated that the unity government would ensure representation for all participating parties and make decisions by consensus. Among its priorities, the government aims to focus on rapid, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, promoting fixed capital investment, job creation, land reform, and infrastructure development.

‘The president will exercise the prerogative to appoint the cabinet in consultation with leaders of GNU [government of national unity] parties, adhering to existing protocols on government decision-making and budgeting,’ the ANC said. Discussions with additional parties to join the government are still underway.

However, the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, which holds 39 seats, has refused to join any government that includes the DA or the Freedom Front Plus. The uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, led by former President Jacob Zuma, is also not part of the unity government. With 58 seats, the MK party has allied with smaller opposition parties in parliament to form the ‘Progressive Caucus,’ which includes the EFF and the United Democratic Movement (UDM). This alliance will serve as the official opposition to the unity government.

HSBC economist David Faulkner commented on the new coalition: ‘With populist parties choosing to reject the GNU, and the ANC’s bigger partners in the governing coalition centre-leaning and favouring more liberal economic policies, we think the GNU opens the possibility for more growth-friendly structural reforms and prudent macroeconomic policy choices. But the GNU could also face ideological divisions and exacerbate fractures within the ANC, factors that could make establishing a stable policy framework difficult.’

As South Africa navigates its new political landscape, the unity government will need to balance diverse political views and prioritise economic stability and growth.

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