Public spat over cabinet position in GNU

Public spat over cabinet position in GNU

Negotiations regarding cabinet positions in the Government of National Unity (GNU) have now become a public spat between the ANC and DA following DA’s demand of 12 portfolios including that of Deputy President.

Helen Zille, the Chairperson of Federal Council for the DA in a letter that is now in the public domain argues her case citing clause 16 of the statement of intent of the GNU that positions in cabinet must be apportioned to parties involved in the GNU proportionally.

The clause reads as follows:

“The Government of National Unity shall be constituted in a manner that reflects genuine inclusiveness of political parties that are party to this Statement of Intent and are represented in the National Assembly broadly taking into account the number of seats parties have in the National Assembly and the need to advance the National Interest. The President shall in constituting the Executive, take into account the electoral outcomes.”

Though some view the DA’s approach as an attempted soft coup, the DA sees an opportunity arm itself with power by occupying key positions in government.

Helen Zille argues that the ANC and the DA are the biggest parties in the GNU and therefore it will only be standard, as practiced elsewhere in the world where GNU governments exist for the DA to have the Deputy President position. She says the DA will be willing to give up the position if it is replaced with that of Minister in the Presidency.

Hellen Zille further argues that it is only fair that her party have positions across cabinet and prefer the following positions:

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy

Minister of Transport which includes Transnet

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition

Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

Minister of Public Service and Administration

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Minister of Justice

Minister of Home Affairs

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Minister of Communication and Digital Technology

Zille further extended the DA’s demands by asking for deputies in the ministries that they will be leading in.

The ANC’s Secretary General Fikile Mbalula responded to the demands of the DA in a statement saying the ANC has noted with concern the outlandish and outrageous demands for specific cabinet positions in the media.

Though not outrightly naming the DA, the SG said negotiating for positions through leaking demands to the media is an act of bad faith and the practice will not help any party.

Mbalula asserted that it is only the President that has the prerogative on who to appoint and for which portfolio. Mbalula said the GNU cannot be held at ransom by a single party.

By far, the GNU has been joined by 10 other parties to form the seventh administration; according to Fikile Mbalula, phase two of the GNU formation is well underway.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is yet to announce his cabinet.


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