ANC and DA sign agreement to form Government of National Unity (GNU)

14 June 2024 | SANews


In breaking news today, the ANC and DA have signed an agreement to form a government of national unity (GNU).

Fikile Mbalula, ANC secretary general, signed on behalf of the ANC while Helen Zille signed on behalf of the DA.

DA Leader John Steenhuisen released the following statement:

My fellow South Africans,

Today, the 14th of June 2024, will go down in the annals of history as the start of a new chapter for our beloved country.

It is my privilege to report to you that, after two weeks of thorough negotiations that only concluded after today’s sitting of Parliament had already started, the DA has reached agreement on the statement of intent for the formation of a Government of National Unity.

Following the signing of this document by the leaders of the respective parties involved – including the DA, the IFP and the ANC – the DA will now enter national government, as well as provincial government in the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The statement that emerges from the past two weeks of intense but mature negotiations, charts a new course for our nation.

At the heart of this GNU statement, is a shared respect for, and defence of, our Constitution and the rule of law, including the Bill of Rights – in its entirety.

It is a document that is realistic about the need for mechanisms to deal with the disagreements that will inevitably arise in a multiparty government, adopting the threshold of “sufficient consensus” that served our country well during the CODESA negotiations.

The basic minimum programme contained in the statement, also commits the GNU to a path of fundamental reform that reflects many of the key pledges contained in the election manifesto of the DA and other parties, including:

  • Rapid economic growth and job creation;
  • Tackling poverty and the high cost of living;
  • Building a merit-based, non-partisan and professional public service that puts the people first;
  • Strengthening law enforcement agencies to address crime, corruption and gender-based violence; and
  • Investing in people through better education, skills development and quality healthcare.

In order to give effect to this vision, the Democratic Alliance will now step up to contribute our unique track record of good, clean and accountable governance to the national project.

In terms of the agreement, the DA will assume various leadership roles in the national Cabinet, the National Assembly, the National Council of Provinces, and on parliamentary portfolio committees, broadly in proportion to our share of seats within the GNU.

This arrangement ensures that the voices of DA voters will now be heard in all the rooms where decisions are made about the future of our country.

Thanks to the 3.5 million people who voted for us, the DA will no longer only be an opposition party at national level.

Instead, the DA now becomes the second biggest party inside a multiparty national government.

This same model of inclusive and broadly proportional representation in the executive and legislative positions will also apply in the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

It is difficult to overstate just how significant this moment is for the Democratic Alliance.

After polling just 1.7% in the 1994 election, the DA’s predecessor became the official opposition for the first time in 1999.

In that same year, the party first entered provincial government as the junior partner in a coalition in the Western Cape.

In 2006, the DA became a party of metropolitan government for the first time, through a seven-party coalition in the City of Cape Town.

In 2009, the DA first won the Western Cape outright, and, in 2021, we won new municipalities across the country for the first time, while entering coalition governments in more metros.

And now, on the 14th of June 2024, the DA is not only set to be part of government in the three biggest provinces of the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Today, the DA becomes a party of national government.

What was once unthinkable when the DA’s predecessor secured only 1.7% of the vote in 1994, has now become a reality.

From today, the DA will co-govern the Republic of South Africa, in a spirit of unity and collaboration.

The DA takes this historic step forward out of our deep and abiding love for the people of this country.

We do so both for the millions of people who voted for us, and for all South Africans who yearn for a better government and a brighter future.

The DA’s signature contribution to this Government of National Unity, will come in the form of our unique track record of service delivery, job creation, and our commitment to clean and accountable governance.

For the very first time, the DA will now be able to bring the same expertise that we honed in places like Cape Town, Midvaal, uMngeni, Kouga and the Western Cape, to serve all the people of South Africa.

That is the our mission core in the GNU: to serve, uplift and deliver dignity to all the people of our country.

Less than two weeks ago, when the final election results were announced, I said that the DA would answer the clarion call that the people had sounded.

I said that we would not bury our heads in the sand at a time when South Africa not only faced the challenges of unemployment, crime and poverty, but also confronted the possibility of an assault on our constitutional democracy.

The DA quickly understood that we could not sit back and allow a vacuum to form, which would inevitably have been filled by forces that seek to subvert the vision of our Constitution of a country that belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

We also understood that multiparty governments are the new normal under our proportional electoral system, and that the DA had to quickly adapt to this radically different environment.

Now that these initial negotiations have culminated in a signed agreement, the DA regards it as our patriotic duty to meet the demands of history in South Africa’s hour of need.

Through their votes, the people have made it clear that they do not want any one party to dominate our society.

The people have also told us that the time for finger pointing, is over.

And that the time for a new politics of collaboration and problem solving, has arrived.

Make no mistake about it: this is not the end of the process, and the road ahead will not be an easy one.

The two-week deadline imposed by the Constitution for the formation of a government is simply not sufficient in this new multiparty context.

Even in countries with a long tradition of multiparty government, it usually takes much longer to negotiate a comprehensive agreement.

We have thus decided to tackle the negotiations in phases.

Phase one is now complete and has culminated in the adoption of the statement of intent, which enables the GNU to elect presiding officers in Parliament, as well as a President.

The GNU’s presidential candidate will come from the largest party inside the grouping, being President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Following his election today, President Ramaphosa will then exercise his prerogative to appoint his new Cabinet from among the members of the GNU, in consultation with the leaders of its constituent parties.

The next phase of the process will then commence in the form of a Lekgotla Strategy Session to develop a detailed policy agenda, including policy priorities for the GNU.

Even as this marks a hopeful and historic moment for our country, it is important that we are honest about the scale of the challenge that lies ahead.

South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in the world, one of the highest crime rates in the world, logistics and infrastructure is in an advanced state of decline, and corruption is endemic.

None of us should expect these problems to be solved overnight.

It will take years of sustained hard work, perseverance, maturity and cooperation across all sectors of society to get our country back on track.

But the DA will be there with you, the people of South Africa, for every step along the way.

We are committed to contributing in any and all ways we can to rescue South Africa from the path of decline, and to ensure that this new chapter is the best one yet for our nation.

Even as we acknowledge that the road ahead will be difficult, we also know that today, South Africa is a better country than it was yesterday.

For the first time since 1994, we have embarked on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power to a new government that will be different from the previous one.

Our democracy is maturing and, while it faces serious threats, the formation of the GNU puts us on a path to full democratic consolidation.

More importantly, the DA’s participation in this multiparty government is a reason for optimism, as ordinary citizens, workers, businesspeople and international investors look forward to us contributing our skills in the quest to build South Africa.

All throughout the election campaign, I told the nation that help is on the way from the DA.

That is a pledge I intend to keep, as demonstrated by our commitment to the GNU.

My fellow citizens,

Many people, here and around the world, believe that South Africa’s best days are behind it.

They are deeply disillusioned by how a country that was once the darling of the world, descended into corruption, mismanagement, and economic decline.

To those people, I say: never bet against the people of South Africa.

With the DA at the heart of a new multiparty government, South Africa is ready to write a hopeful new chapter that defies the odds once again.

We are a nation of honest, hardworking and peace-loving people who care for our families, our communities, and our neighbours.

We are home to people who conquer hardship and suffering every day just to put food on the table.

We are a country that revels in beating the odds and achieving unlikely triumphs.

From the spring of our great diversity, flows a river of humanity that can quench the thirst we all share for freedom, for prosperity, and for a country we can all be proud of.

We have done it before.

Together, we can now do it again.

Thank you.


 

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