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By Dimakatso Modipa

President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

A government official who is close to the Government of National Unity (GNU) negotiations has rubbished media reports that negotiations between the DA and ANC over the formation of the new government have collapsed.

The anonymous source told Tshwane Talks that the negotiations were still ongoing.

The source’s response comes after one online newspaper published a story on Thursday wherein it was reported that the talks have been aborted as a result of the DA and the ANC failing to find each other regarding allocation of vital positions in the looming new government.

One political expert said the DA and the ANC must behave magnanimously in the negotiations forum because they both performed badly in the recently held 29 May general elections and must therefore listen to the will of the people of South Africa, which entails working together under one umbrella of unity.

The ANC received 40,18% of the votes while the DA received 21,81 in this regard.

The ANC regards itself as the leading party in the GNU as it has garnered more votes than other parties in the national elections and therefore considers that as a basis to fill the position of the state president and the majority of key cabinet portfolios.

On the other hand, the DA holds that there must be drastic changes in the GNU, that it can’t be business as usual and that they (DA) must be allotted key positions in order to effect changes that are needed for the good of the country.

Negotiations between the DA and the ANC started just before the election of the state president in Parliament on 14 June 2024, resulting in the DA voting together with the ANC for Cyril Ramaphosa as the country’s president and also pledging to vote against the re-instatement of the Phala-Phala matter should it rear its head again in Parliament.

Now six weeks down the line, the DA and ANC are grappling with the issue of cabinet positions that must be allocated.

It is understood that the DA is looking at occupying ministries like Trade and Industry, Home Affairs, Basic Education, Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs and Public Works.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya announced on Talk Radio 702 that the President wants to conclude the GNU negotiations process as soon as possible; that this has been his stated intention from the onset of the talks.

In the said interview, Magwenya pointed out that the process is complex and that “none of us could have scripted it in any other way.”

“It is a process that needs to be allowed to run its course and we must not be caught up in the back and forth around the allocation of seats and positions in the cabinet,” he said.

Magwenya said the negotiations are a process designed to ensure that once the GNU is in place, it must be sustainable for the 5-year term that it must run.

“Media news headlines are around cabinet positions, but the actual hard work is behind the scenes on how we should start on a stable foundation that would sustain the GNU,” explained Magwenya.

He said the presidency doesn’t want to suffer disruptions along the way when moving forward with the GNU and plunge the country into uncertainty.

“Let’s be patient, we are almost there,” said Magwenya.

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