GNU: opposition parties warn of a 'return of white rule' and weakened opposition

Al Jama-ah tells ANC it wants no part of a GNU that includes the DA

10 June 2024 - 14:36
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People watch live voting results on the national ballot results board at the IEC National Results Centre on May 30 2024 in Johannesburg.
People watch live voting results on the national ballot results board at the IEC National Results Centre on May 30 2024 in Johannesburg.
Image: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The ANC has received pushback from one of its trusted coalition allies, Al Jama-ah, warning it against its proposed government of national unity (GNU) and citing concerns about “a return of white rule”.

Some smaller parties have cautioned that a GNU would result in a weakened watchdog opposition.

Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks said he was invited by the ANC to talks at the weekend to engage in a consultative process on the way ahead, but warned the former liberation movement about working with the DA.

Al Jama-ah rejects a GNU because it will include the values of the DA's pact which he claimed were “anti-humanitarian” and support the “genocide of Palestinians”.

He claimed the DA's policies are “anti-poor” leaving most South Africans out in the cold. 

“The ANC was given a mandate to govern and serve, though with 40% as a minority government, but we warned against joining hands with parties that are hell-bent to return the country to ‘white rule’.

“Less dependence on white monopoly is the only way to prosperity for all South Africans. The country’s economy should be controlled by blacks; the reparation of land will not be achieved by a GNU. Codesa delayed true freedom and a GNU will further bury these aspirations which would eventually lead to a bloodbath,” said Hendricks.

“Lessons must be learnt from the past 30 years of freedom which are described by many as fake. South Africa must govern and serve her people without any interference from the former colonial masters which is against the ANC’s policy of nonracialism.

“The inequalities existing among South Africans have been allowed to grow to alarming proportions and this requires a radical change,” he said.

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said he expected the proposal of a GNU would be a strong possibility but would need clarity on the preconditions and principles before the FF Plus decided to join it.

“It will also matter which other political parties they are willing to form a GNU with. We are waiting to see a proposal from the ANC on national level, but on provincial level, particularly in the Northern Cape, we are in discussions. We are looking at certain aspects and we will follow up,” Groenewald said.

The party will do everything to ensure there is a government in the best interests of the people of South Africa.  

Groenewald told TimesLIVE there are some policy perspectives on which they are not willing to negotiate.

Some principles we know of, such as the recognition of the constitution — the devil is in the detail. It’s easy to say every political party in parliament respects the constitution or else they wouldn’t be in parliament. We have strong views in our manifesto. For us, expropriation without compensation is a non-negotiable, we will not deviate from that view.”

ActionSA, which made its electoral debut in the national and provincial polls, said it will accept the idea of talking.

Our numbers would not be mathematically required for such an entity and the GNU would realise the terms of sufficient consensus will exist exclusively between the DA and the ANC. They will come to learn that the remaining parties would remain extraneous to the decision-making process,” national chairperson Michael Beaumont said. 

ActionSA believed the best thing for them was to become the unofficial opposition, he said.

Rise Mzansi's Songezo Zibi said his party is willing to talk, but all parties must work together to ensure stability. 

“It’s difficult to develop a position, we would have to hear what they say so we can take a decision. 

“There is a mistaken belief in South Africa that governing only involves the government executive and parliament is not governing. Our position is government in our constitution is not the executive only, it is the government executive and the legislative branch.

Zibi said for some the best role might be in parliament, not in the executive, to ensure oversight and accountability.

Build One SA's Mmusi Maimane said his party would have to consider what a GNU does, saying it will not work without an inclusive plan.

Without a plan it won’t work. It cannot be the ANC’s plan we execute. To not foreground any arrangement with a plan that addresses the issues of 16-million South Africans is futile. BOSA went into politics for the interests of a plan, we have a 10-point plan and we have been consistent on that.”

Maimane said it is important for a consensus agreement to be made on what the plan is for the seventh administration, vowing his party will not do anything blindly or agree to things he knows nothing about.

Let’s understand how we are going to preserve the constitution, eradicate corruption and carve a prosperous plan for South Africa, then we can enter into a GNU discussion. 

“A GNU will never survive if it does not have an effective opposition. It needs an opposition that can ensure we deal with the challenges South Africans face, because any government needs to be held accountable.”


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