ANC lashes GNU partners for making ‘outrageous’ demands

The ANC has lambasted some political parties in the government of national unity (GNU) for making specific cabinet position demands in the media amid ongoing discussions.

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said for some parties in the GNU to make “outlandish” and “outrageous” cabinet position demands in the media is “an act of bad faith”. 

Bhengu-Motsiri said President Cyril Ramaphosa has the final say in who he appoints as a member of his cabinet. 

She said Ramaphosa will appoint his cabinet “in the coming days” after the second phase of the GNU parties’ consultation to form a cabinet.

Outrageous demands

The parties represented in the GNU are the ANC (159 seats in the National Assembly), DA (87 seats), IFP (17), PA (nine), FF+ (six), UDM (three), Rise Mzansi (two), Al Jamah (two), PAC (one), and Good (one seat).

Together, these parties represent 287 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly., which translates to a 72% overwhelming majority in the National Assembly. 

“The ANC notes with concern that some parties have been making outlandish and outrageous demands for specific cabinet positions in the media,” said Bhengu-Motsiri.

“Negotiating through leaking demands to the media is an act of bad faith, and this practice will not help the cause of any party.

“It is only the president who has the final say on the appointment of his cabinet. The GNU cannot be held to ransom by any single party. The people need a government to be established sooner rather than later.”

She continued: “The ANC confirms that since the announcement of the historic agreement between 10 South African political parties to form an ANC-led government of national unity for the 7th democratic administration, phase two of the establishment of the GNU is well under way, with the highly anticipated announcement of cabinet by President Cyril Ramaphosa drawing close.

“The outcome of the 2024 national and provincial election made it clear that 30 years into democracy, South Africans want political parties to work together to solve the important challenges facing the country and improve the lives of our people.”

Second phase of consultation

According to Bhengu-Motsiri, the second phase of the GNU consultation process to appoint the national executive (cabinet) in line with the constitution is under way.

“This will be based on the following principles: an inclusive approach taking into consideration electoral outcomes, the national interest, as well as national groups, gender, social sectors and related elements of representativity, and of course experience and competency with regards to governance and specific portfolios; GNU cooperation includes both parliament and the executive,” she said.

“Parties to the GNU may be considered for assignment of responsibilities in the legislature and/or in cabinet.

“Consultations with leaders of parties included in the GNU by the president of the republic are under way, based on the constitutional prerogative of the president.

“The constitution confers the executive authority of the republic on the president as head of state and head of the national executive.

“The president appoints cabinet, assigns functions to ministers, and ministers report to cabinet, who operate as a collective.

“Once the GNU cabinet is formed, ministers act as members of the cabinet, responsible for their portfolios and collectively in the interest of the nation, not their parties or sectors.”

Cabinet announcement imminent

She continued: “The president will announce the cabinet in the coming days, based on the above principles.

“Once the cabinet is formed, parliament will then start its work to establish its structures, including portfolio committees and other structures of responsibility as prescribed by the constitution.

“It is the ANC’s wish to see that these processes are not unnecessarily delayed, so that the 7th administration can get on with the urgent tasks of attending to the people’s priorities: tackling unemployment, growing an inclusive economy, industrialisation, investing in people, improving and expanding quality basic services, tackling crime and corruption, and advancing nation-building and social cohesion, which are the issues that South Africans voted for.”

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