Clock ticking as big SA parties scramble to meet deadline for first parliament sitting

Political parties are moving with haste to expedite the terms of the government of national unity ahead of the National Assembly sitting on Friday. There has been no clear agreement between the two biggest parties, ANC and DA, but a meeting that kicked off at 11am will be crucial in determining a way forward. 

A meeting between the DA and ANC is currently underway, according to DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi.

The DA concluded its Federal Council meeting on Tuesday morning, where they mulled over the formation of a new government. The bone of contention was the ANC’s stance to include as many of the smaller parties as possible, which could place the DA in a weaker position.

The meeting started Monday and adjourned at 3am, to resume between 7am and 9am on Tuesday.

It is understood that a chief concern of the DA is that an agreement of this nature could threaten the party’s position of kingmakers in the pact. The other issue will be around how positions will be split between the many parties, especially when it comes to ministerial positions.

Daily Maverick understands that the ANC is pondering the possibility of working with smaller parties which have seats in the National Assembly.

An ANC National Executive Committee member explained that there is a strong push to include Al Jama-ah and Good, as both parties have worked harmoniously with them in the past and are trusted allies.

However, Al Jama-ah has raised concerns about the ANC working with the DA. Party president Ganief Hendricks told Daily Maverick they would form a national front with other parties who are also against a tie-up between the  ANC and DA.

The ANC got 40.18% of national votes, and the DA 21.81

Hendricks suggested that the old liberation movement should try and halt this plan as the Al Jama-ah party is “extremely concerned about the current post-election developments in our country and the ANC’s decision to form a Government of National Unity with the DA and its Moonshot Pact”.

“With the above in mind, Al Jama-ah feels strongly that there is a need for like-minded political parties and organisations to form a National Front,” he said in a letter to the Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo).

The composition of the national assembly allows for the ANC to collaborate with smaller parties to elect a president on Friday.

Election expert Wayne Sussman told Daily Maverick that this scenario would be possible.

“The ANC would be able to get to 50+ without the DA, MK party and EFF. They will have to work with the IFP and PA in that scenario,” he said.

The IFP got 3.85% and the PA 2.06%.

Therefore, only if the ANC can convince every political party to work with them while excluding the bigger three parties, ActionSA and ATM, they would then be able to garner 208 votes towards securing Cyril Ramaphosa’s second term as president.

ActionSA’s Michael Beaumont confirmed that the party has not met the ANC while ATM’s Vuyo Zungula said he met with the party’s leadership but had no concrete conclusion.

ActionSA has vowed never to work with the ANC while the ATM has led the charge against Ramaphosa in the Phala Phala scandal.

Rise Mzansi National Communication Director Mabine Seabe said the party has met with the ANC.

“The Rise Mzansi delegation has met with the ANC National and Gauteng teams, on their invitation, separately. We have also had conversations with other party representatives from ActionSA, Bosa, DA and IFP, about working towards what is above all in the interest of the people of South Africa, among other things, ensuring constitutional, democratic and social stability.

“At this point, nothing has been finalised, and there are further discussions and meetings that will be had between now and Friday,” he said.

Parties involved in the GNU talks have also highlighted that the ANC have given the impression that the speaker and deputy speaker positions would be up for grabs if the agreement is finalised.

Working with smaller parties will put the country in an appealing position with business and the markets. There has already been negative sentiment around the party forming a government with the EFF and MK Party.

The ANC has experienced internal strife about the party choosing to work with the DA, although they would secure a strong majority together.

Meanwhile, the MK party has submitted court documents to halt the first sitting of parliament set for Friday. The party is looking to interdict Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and Secretary of Parliament Xolile George from going ahead with the sitting as they have decided not to attend. The party argues that the first sitting will be illegal as it should constitute of at least 350 members and if they are not in attendance, they will not reach the required quorum.

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