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Cabinet Negotiations Reach Boiling Point: DA’s Demands Lead to Presidential Rejection



In a dramatic turn of events within South Africa’s Government of National Unity (GNU), Gayton McKenzie of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) has voiced strong opinions on the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) aggressive stance in cabinet power-sharing negotiations. McKenzie asserts that the DA’s push for significant control has pushed the African National Congress (ANC) “too far,” resulting in President Cyril Ramaphosa rejecting several of the blue party’s demands.

The Standoff: DA’s Ambitious Demands

On June 25, President Ramaphosa addressed DA leader John Steenhuisen in a letter, denouncing the DA’s demands as “legally incompetent.” These demands included securing director-general posts for various departments and acquiring no less than 12 ministerial positions, with a notable request for Steenhuisen to replace Paul Mashatile as Deputy President.

Ramaphosa’s response underscores the ANC’s commitment to negotiating with multiple parties within the GNU framework. He emphasized that the ANC is in discussions with other political entities, suggesting that the DA’s demands were excessive and unfeasible within the current political landscape.

McKenzie’s Take: A Polite Rejection

McKenzie didn’t mince words when describing the situation, stating, “The ANC has been pushed too far by the DA. The letter from President Ramaphosa is direct and that of a man who wants a solution [despite] people hell-bent on humiliating the ANC and wanting to insert themselves as the new leaders of South Africa and the GNU.

He highlighted the ongoing tension between the ANC and DA, the two largest parties in the GNU, as a significant factor in the delay of forming a new cabinet. This stalemate, he noted, has left the country in a state of uncertainty a month after the elections.


Negotiations in Limbo

According to McKenzie, the crux of the delay lies in the inability of the ANC and DA to agree on the number of ministerial positions the DA should hold. This deadlock has led to a series of leaked letters and public statements, further complicating the negotiation process.

“It’s has been an up and down with a lot of letters leaked. I do think with the latest letter from the president that this circus is leaving town, and we are close to a solution or agreement in the GNU,” McKenzie stated optimistically.

Looking Ahead: A Possible Resolution

Despite the turbulent negotiations, McKenzie remains hopeful that a resolution is imminent. He anticipates that the talks could conclude by Friday, potentially leading to a formal cabinet announcement soon after.

The ongoing negotiations are a crucial test for the GNU, reflecting the broader challenges of coalition politics in South Africa. As the nation watches closely, the outcome of these talks will significantly shape the political landscape and governance in the coming years.

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