The African National Congress and the Democratic Party reach an agreement to form a national unity government in South Africa

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Comment on the photo, The DNC and the ANC have been bitter rivals for many years

  • author, Farouk Chuthia, Danai Nesta Kubimba and Barbara Plett Asher in Cape Town
  • Role, BBC News

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress and the main opposition Democratic Alliance party have agreed to form a national unity government alongside two small opposition parties.

This comes after weeks of speculation about who the ANC would partner with after losing its parliamentary majority for the first time in 30 years, in last month’s elections.

It received 40% of the votes, while the Justice and Development Party came in second place with 22%.

The agreement paves the way for ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa to remain president.

The newly elected representatives are due to elect their president later on Friday, as the National Assembly meets for the first time since the May 29 elections.

They will meet at a conference center in Cape Town because the Parliament complex was damaged by fire several years ago.

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said the coalition agreement was on the right track, and that the agreement with the opposition parties was a “great step.”

He said, “We are involved beyond this sitting in what must be done to form a national unity government. Our work does not stop.”

Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress led the campaign against apartheid in 1994 and won the country’s first democratic elections.

Critics have accused the Democratic Party of trying to protect the economic privileges gained by the country’s white minority during the apartheid period, something the party denies.

DA leader John Steenhausen said the deal was “a new chapter in our history”.

He told reporters that in exchange for the DP’s support for Ramaphosa, the ANC would support the DP’s Annelie Loutret as deputy speaker of parliament.

He also said that the power-sharing arrangement would include ministerial positions for the Democratic Alliance, which has until now been an opposition party.

The deal also includes the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a conservative party with a strong Zulu base, which received 4% of the vote, and the National Alliance (PA), which draws support from the colored community, as a mixed people. Race is well known in South Africa.

The agreement also covers strong local governments in the main provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

“By voting, the country made clear that it does not want our society to be dominated by one party,” Steenhausen said.

The IFP’s Thami Ntuli has been elected Prime Minister of KwaZulu-Natal. This represents a setback for former President Jacob Zuma, who had hoped that his Umkhonto Visizwe party would lead the region, where it won the largest number of votes but failed to achieve a majority.

The coalition agreement is likely to be welcomed by the business sector, which believes it will ensure economic stability and avoid capital flight because it does not include the EFF and MK, who are calling for the nationalization of land, mines and banks.

The MK had set Mr Ramaphosa’s resignation as one of the conditions for entering into a coalition, which the ANC rejected.

Malema said on Thursday evening that the Front had refused to join a government that included the Democratic Alliance, saying it was part of an “imperialist agenda.”

The ANC’s agreement with the DA and IFP is seen as an attempt to promote racial and ethnic reconciliation in the wake of a bruising election campaign.

President Ramaphosa had previously accused the Democratic Alliance – which draws its support mainly from ethnic minorities – of being “traitorous” and “reactionary”.

The ANC was deeply divided over reaching an agreement with the Democratic Alliance, with some of its senior leaders – supported by their allies in the trade union movement and the South African Communist Party (SACP) – favoring a coalition with the Eastern Front and minor parties or MK. .

But Mr Ramaphosa is said to prefer an alliance with the DA and IFP, as he sees them as the most reliable partners to address South Africa’s economic crisis and deteriorating infrastructure.

The Democratic Alliance also strongly opposes the ANC’s black economic empowerment policies, seeing them as discriminating against ethnic minorities while simply enriching businessmen close to the ANC – something the ANC denies.

While this deal is an important step, Steenhausen acknowledged that South Africa’s problems, such as crime and economic issues, will not be “solved overnight” and that “the road ahead will be difficult.”

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