The hurdles that both the ANC and DA will have to overcome to form a coalition

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the closing address of the special sitting of the party's NEC meeting in Boksburg. Picture: Kamogelo Moichela / IOL

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the closing address of the special sitting of the party's NEC meeting in Boksburg. Picture: Kamogelo Moichela / IOL

Published Jun 7, 2024


This year, South Africa marks 30 years of democracy, but also three decades of uninterrupted rule by the ANC at national level.

Last week’s general election was a seminal point in South Africa’s history because, for the first time, the ANC’s grip on power was loosened to such an extent that it now has to seek the consent of other political parties to govern.

Because the ANC got 40,18% of the votes, equalling 159 seats, making it the biggest single block in the 400-seat National Assembly but 42 short of a governing majority.

Since it became clear that the ANC would not have the support to single-handedly constitute a majority, the consensus was that the Democratic Alliance (DA) with 21,81% (87 seats) would best be suited to form a governing coalition.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told journalists the message of last week’s general elections from the public to the political parties was that they wanted all of them to work together.

This was the thrust of the ANC’s push for a government of national unity, bringing in as many disparate parties as possible.

DA John Steenhuisen and ANC Mahlengi Bhengu. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

Bhengu-Motsiri stated: “The ANC has taken the position that we must all act in the interest of our country and its people, and work to build national consensus on the form of government that is best suited to move South Africa forward at this moment in our history.

“The ANC is keen and determined to engage all parties and unite the broadest range of sectors of our population behind the urgent need to move our country out of the current potential electoral stalemate.

“The ANC is driven by the imperative to maintain national unity, stability and to put in place a government that will move with speed to tackle all the pressing socio-economic challenges our nation faces. We believe that despite any differences we may have, working together as South Africans, we can seize this moment to usher our country into a new era of hope.”

For the ANC, a government of national unity was likely the best outcome as opposed to a straight coalition agreement with the DA.

The ANC’s Tripartite Alliance partners have already indicated that any deal to form a coalition with the DA (and Jacob Zuma’s MK Party) would be unwelcome.

There have been calls for the ANC to instead of the DA form a coalition with the EFF and the IFP, which will give it enough seats to form a majority.

Before the elections, the EFF leader Julius Malema had demanded that his deputy Floyd Shivambu become Finance Minister before the party would go into a coalition.

His recent statements, after it became clear that the ANC would need coalition partners, seem to have walked back his initial demand. The EFF though would like to see movement on government policy on land reform, particularly expropriation without compensation, which was an ANC 2017 conference resolution.

The DA is seen as an enemy of the working class with its pro-business policies, and the party’s federal chair Helen Zille’s public disdain for public unions, particularly the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu)

If the ANC and the DA were to ever form a coalition, these are the policy hurdles they need to overcome to make their marriage of convenience work.

Democratic Alliance (DA):


  • Pro-market economic policies
  • Advocates for lower taxes and reduced government intervention
  • Emphasis on attracting foreign investment
  • Focus on job creation through private sector growth


  • Supports a mixed healthcare system with both public and private options
  • Emphasises improving the efficiency and quality of public healthcare services


  • Advocates for a strong focus on improving the quality of education
  • Supports increased funding for schools in disadvantaged areas
  • Emphasis on teacher training and accountability

Crime and Policing

  • Advocates for stronger law enforcement and increased police presence
  • Focus on combating corruption within the police force
  • Supports community policing initiatives

Land Reform

  • Supports land reform but emphasises market-based solutions
  • Opposes expropriation without compensation, advocating for compensation at market value


  • Supports a diversified energy mix with a significant role for renewable energy
  • Advocates for reducing dependence on coal and increasing investment in clean energy

Social Services

  • Emphasises the importance of social safety nets
  • Advocates for efficient and corruption-free delivery of social services

African National Congress (ANC)


  • Advocates for a mixed economy with significant state intervention
  • Focus on redistributive policies and economic transformation
  • Emphasis on inclusive growth and reducing inequality


  • Strong support for the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme
  • Aim to provide universal healthcare coverage and reduce reliance on private healthcare


  • Prioritises access to education for all, especially historically disadvantaged communities
  • Focus on increasing funding and resources for public schools
  • Emphasis on free higher education for students from low-income families

Crime and Policing

  • Focus on holistic crime prevention strategies, including social and economic interventions
  • Emphasis on addressing the root causes of crime, such as poverty and unemployment
  • Supports community involvement in crime prevention

Land Reform

  • Strongly supports land expropriation without compensation as a means to address historical injustices
  • Focus on accelerating land redistribution to benefit the majority of South Africans


  • Supports a balanced energy mix, including coal, nuclear, and renewables
  • Emphasis on ensuring energy security and reducing load shedding
  • Advocates for increased investment in state-owned enterprises like Eskom

Social Services

  • Emphasis on expanding social grants and welfare programs
  • Focus on addressing poverty and unemployment through state-led initiatives

* Quinton Mtyala, is the Western Cape Regional News Editor.

Cape Argus

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