June 16, 2024

South Africa: ‘We want coalition, not GNU’ — Malema


In a bold and decisive stance, Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has firmly rejected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proposal for a Government of National Unity (GNU).

This plan, aimed at including all political parties with parliamentary seats, comes on the heels of a significant shift in South Africa’s political landscape following the 2024 national and provincial elections.

President Ramaphosa announced on Thursday night that his party, the African National Congress (ANC), would seek to establish a GNU with all parties committed to advancing South Africa. This move was seen as a bid to stabilize governance after the ANC, for the first time in 30 years, failed to secure a majority. The elections left no party with a clear mandate to rule, with the ANC, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and the Jacob Zuma-aligned Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party all falling short.

Malema, whose EFF placed fourth in the election, wasted no time in dismissing the idea. “We can’t share power with the enemy,” he declared on X (formerly Twitter), explicitly referring to the DA, South Africa’s second-largest political party. The DA had previously named the EFF as its primary adversary, exacerbating tensions between the two parties.

The animosity is not one-sided. The DA has also expressed strong opposition to any coalition involving the ANC, EFF, and the MK Party. This political tug-of-war highlights the complexities of forming a unified government in the current fractured political climate.

“The arrogance continues even after the South African voters issued warning signs. You can’t dictate the way forward as if you have won elections. We are not desperate for anything, ours is a generational mission,” Malema tweeted, underscoring his discontent with the GNU concept. His remarks reflect a broader frustration among EFF supporters who view the proposed unity government as a compromise of their principles.

Speaking last week at the national Results Operations Centre (ROC) of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), Malema reiterated his stance. He emphasized the preference for a coalition government composed of parties with similar ideologies rather than a GNU, which typically includes all legislative parties regardless of political alignment.

“We are not like Mandela; we don’t do a government of national unity. We don’t want it. We want a coalition, not a GNU. We would end up with the wrong people,” Malema asserted, drawing a clear line between the EFF’s vision and the conciliatory approach historically associated with Nelson Mandela.

Malema’s outright rejection of the GNU underscores a pivotal moment in South African politics, where ideological divides are more pronounced than ever. As the ANC grapples with its diminished dominance and the challenge of forming a stable government, the political landscape remains uncertain. The EFF’s insistence on a coalition over a GNU marks a significant departure from past practices and sets the stage for a contentious period of negotiation and political maneuvering.

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