world News : South Africa's ANC reaches deal with opposition to form unity government

world News : South Africa's ANC reaches deal with opposition to form unity government
world News : South Africa's ANC reaches deal with opposition to form unity government

Friday 14 June 2024 10:46 PM

newsonline - A unity government has been formed in South Africa with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its largest rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), signing a deal, an official has said.

The ANC, which lost its parliamentary majority in a May election, agreed to enter into a government of national unity
with parties including the DA, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Patriotic Alliance, public broadcaster SABC reported.

The ANC won just 40% of the vote, forcing Nelson Mandela's legacy liberation movement to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with rival parties for the first time in 30 years.

Senior DA negotiator Helen Zille on Friday confirmed her party and the ANC had signed a deal for a unity government.

After spearheading talks of an alliance with opposition parties, Cyril Ramaphosa, 71, was on Friday set to be elected for a second five-year term as president of Africa's most industrialised economy.

The ANC losing supporters in the last vote meant it needed MPs from parties that were once its main political foes to now support Mr Ramaphosa and continue the ANC's three-decade hold on the presidency.

Image: ANC supporters dance outside a polling station during the May election. Pic: Reuters

'A new era'

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The deal marks the start of a new era in South African politics as the ANC has been in power since the election of Mandela back in 1994.

Following two weeks of intensive talks with opposition parties, Sihle Zikalala, a member of the ANC's governing body, said in a post on X: "Today marks the beginning of a new era where we put our differences aside and unite for the betterment of all South Africans."

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The newly elected National Assembly - where the ANC holds 159 of its 400 seats, while the DA has 87 - began proceedings with the swearing-in of MPs.

The chamber was then due to elect its speaker and deputy speaker before the country's president is nominated.

The ANC's main reservation about joining forces with the pro-business DA had been that while the party is liked by investors because of its free-market policies, it is unpopular with its own voters who see it as a defender of the privileged white minority's interests.

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The ANC has over the last decade seen its support dwindle amid widespread poverty, a stagnating economy, rising unemployment, and power and water shortages.

The poverty disproportionately affects black people, who make up 80% of the population and have been the core of the ANC's support for years.

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