Opposition party convention: deal reached on coalition in bid to unseat ANC and keep EFF out

17 August 2023 - 07:00
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Prof William Gumede will chair the negotiations.
Prof William Gumede will chair the negotiations.
Image: King David Studio/Supplied

Opposition parties have come out of their first day of their convention having agreed on a coalition government ahead of next year’s election.

Despite the jostling and heated arguments, the parties managed to make “significant” progress by agreeing there was a need for a coalition of opposition parties to try to topple the ANC and keep the EFF out of the Union Buildings.

The DA, IFP, ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus, United Independent Movement, Spectrum National Party and Isanco have reached a consensus to chart the formation of a conglomerate that will take on the ANC in the 2024 national election.

Such a pre-election multiparty coalition agreement is a first of its kind in the modern South Africa, according to the convention chair Prof William Gumede.

Usually agreements between multiparties are made post-election and not seven months before.

“Essentially the coalition has been built based on today. There is a coalition and this is the first pre-electoral coalition in the modern era of South Africa that has actually been consolidated,” said Gumede.

“Yes there's tomorrow and also some sticky issues, difficult tricky issues, but the core foundation has been laid, the pillars have been set and essentially now it's to build the other parts.”

The group has agreed that whatever government they form will have zero tolerance for corruption, build a capable governance system that will deliver services to all citizens and prioritise poor South Africans.

They used the first day of the two-day convention to come up with priorities that their coalition will focus on should they garner enough votes to establish a government after next year’s election.

These include creating a government that will be focused on growing the economy and creating jobs, ending load-shedding, combating crime, ensuring there is quality education and quality infrastructure and ending cadre development.

There was consensus among the parties on the creation of a pre-election coalition agreement that they say will save South Africa from the ANC government.

This was a significant outcome of the convention of opposition parties that had glaring disagreements going into the meeting, Gumede said.

Gumede said as far as he was concerned, a coalition agreement had been built and what was left was to iron out a few key issues.

“Yes there's a convention, obviously the negotiations have been [there] ahead of the convention and some of the sticky points were discussed today or agreed upon today or wrestled today to get agreements and tomorrow is another day. There's still some critical issues outstanding though today was an absolute significant day, really substantial issues to hold the coalition [together],” he said.

DA leader John Steenhuisen had to make compromises on several issues including the name change and extending invitations to other opposition parties.

Gumede announced that the convention had agreed to rename the initiative previously called the Moonshot Pact to Multiparty Charter for South Africa.

Gumede said the parties had also agreed that to mount a serious challenge to the ANC, invitations had to be extended to other opposition parties including the Patriotic Alliance.

“The parties agreed to broaden the number of parties in the agreement. The political parties resolved to extend invitations to all political parties in South Africa that subscribe to our vision, priorities of government, set governing principles and a prerequisite to unseat the ANC and keep the EFF out.

“All parties that subscribe and act according to these principles are requested to come forward and engage in talks to join the Multiparty Charter for South Africa.”


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