‘ANC chose to sell out’

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula speaking to the media during the first sitting of the seventh Parliament at the CTICC in Cape Town. Photographer: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula speaking to the media during the first sitting of the seventh Parliament at the CTICC in Cape Town. Photographer: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 14, 2024


AFTER years of dominating South Africa’s political landscape despite criticisms of incompetence and unchecked power, the ANC retreated to the negotiating table to emerge as a participant in a so-called Government of National Unity (GNU), which is largely seen as a disguised coalition with the DA.

In a June 14 document signed by ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula and DA Council federal chairperson Helen Zille, the parties sealed their intention to form a government.

The document reads: “The 2024 national and provincial election was highly contested and, at times, divisive. The election results have the potential to incite further political and social fragmentation. Relatively low levels of voter turnout and registration suggest growing alienation from the political system.

“It is in this context that we, as political parties, that participated in the 2024 elections and received seats in the national and provincial legislatures, pledge to cooperate through a voluntary GNU.”

Both parties said they committed to an all-inclusive national dialogue process – with parties, civil society, labour, business, and other sectors – to discuss challenges facing the nation.

They agreed that this would develop a “national social compact” that enabled the country to meet the aspirations of the National Development Plan.

Independent political analysts have reacted in shock and said that the ANC chose to degrade the lives of black people, while “fertilising the ground” for the entrenchment of white supremacy, as the ANC struck a “coalition deal” with the country’s second-largest party.

The former liberation movement lost its parliamentary majority in the May 29 elections for the first time since the ANC swept to power in 1994. The party collapsed from 57.5% of the vote in 2019 to 40% this year.

The DA received almost 22% of the vote, struggling to attract more black votes as many still fear that white minority parties are opposed to pro-black policies.

In a show of defeat, Mbalula told a press conference after the elections that his party had engaged the DA and six other smaller parties that expressed their support for a coalition government.

Independent political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe criticised the ANC’s decision to enter into the GNU.

“The decision to prefer to go with the DA is part of this anti-black agenda. The ANC of (President Cyril) Ramaphosa either suffers from Stockholm Syndrome or is simply populated by self-hating blacks who would rather sell their brethren for 30 pieces of silver.

“Indeed, the commitment to sell your own is exemplified by the choices made … It flies in the face of a very clear message from the electorate. For some of us, this is not surprising.

“If big business does not co-opt you or give lots of funds for nothing … this is payback time. The NEC of the ANC is simply honouring its side of the bargain after entering into a pact with the devil,” said Seepe.

Senior lecturer at the University of Limpopo and independent political analyst Dr Metji Makgoba said the ANC, DA and IFP were conservative organisations that were aligned with white monopoly capital in South Africa.

“This means that their government will reinforce the status quo of neoliberal capitalism that works on erasing racial inequality and oppression … because now they lack any radical perspectives to the South African polity. The main goal of their GNU will be to create an environment for the private takeover of the government by capital,” Makgoba said.

“This is the worst combination, but it is not surprising. By choosing assimilation over liberation, the ANC has killed any black radicalism that is necessary for imagining new possibilities for the liberation of black people. By choosing non-racialism over uprooting the relations of colonial conquest, the ANC has made itself available to global capitalism as a slave and has continued to degrade the lives of black people while fertilising the ground for the entrenchment of white supremacy,” he said.

Makgoba said by working with the DA and the IFP, the ANC would forget the oppression of black people while working on conservative and liberal ethos.

“Its leaders are unable to name the conditions of black people who have barely benefited from democracy. They always find comfort in naming the liberal Constitution as their guiding framework, while the document has locked blacks in a trap, helpless and powerless,” Makgoba said.

The ANC cannot govern alone as it failed to win the majority of votes. The ANC received only 40.18% of votes, while the DA bagged 21.81%, followed by the MK Party (14.58%) and EFF (9.52%).