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South Africa: ANC forms coalition govt after losing majority

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South Africa: ANC forms coalition govt after losing majority

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South Africa’s long-standing ruling ANC said on Thursday it has reached an agreement with several other parties to form a coalition government, after failing to win an outright majority in general elections in May.

Speaking on the eve of the first sitting of the newly elected parliament, African National Congress Secretary General Fikile Mbalula said the government would “gravitate to the centre”, after leftist parties shunned the deal.

“We have reached a breakthrough on the common agreement that we need to work together,” Mbalula told a news conference.

The agreement means President Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to be appointed for a second term when lawmakers convene in Cape Town on Friday.

Mbalula described the coalition as a national unity government and said it was to include the centre-right Democratic Alliance (DA), the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the small centre-left United Democratic Movement, and right-wing Afrikaner Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

The radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was left out as talks with the party lead by firebrand politician Julius Malema did not bear fruit, Mbalula said.

Angry former ANC president Jacob Zuma’s vehicle, the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party, which came in third in the election, was also not to back the government, although Mbalula did not name it. The party has denounced the results and its 58 MPs plan to boycott parliament.

Other small groups, including Muslim party Al Jama-ah, centre-left Rise Mzansi and the minority National Coloured Congress had agreed to join, but with reservations, he added.

For 30 years since the advent of post-apartheid democracy, the late Nelson Mandela’s ANC has held an absolute majority and elected a president from its own ranks.

But the former liberation movement — weakened by corruption and poor economic performance — saw its support collapse at the May 29 election, leaving it with only 159 seats.

In South African elections, the president is chosen from among MPs through a secret ballot of the 400-member National Assembly.

He or she then has to choose ministers to form the executive government in Pretoria.

AFP

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