Skip links

South African parties strike coalition deal

Read 2 minutes

South Africa’s newly elected parliament met Friday to hold its first sitting after election.

The leader of South Africa’s second-largest party, John Steenhuisen of the centre-right, Democratic Alliance (DA), said it had reached an agreement with the African National Congress party(ANC) to form a multi-party coalition government

“The DA has reached agreement on the statement of intent for the formation of a government of national unity,” he said, adding that the DA and the Zulu nationalist IFP would back the coalition, which they are calling a government of national unity.

“We will be supporting President Cyril Ramaphosa in his election for the President of the Republic of South Africa,” Steenhuisen said.

Earlier, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo opened the first sitting and presided over the swearing in of hundreds of Members of Parliament (MPs).

Members of the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party took the oath wearing red overalls and in some cases rubber boots and plastic construction worker helmets. But they will not be supporting the incoming administration, having refused to countenance joining an alliance with right-wing or white-led parties.

Ramaphosa, the fifth African National Congress president in 30 years, called for a government of national unity after his party lost its absolute majority in last month’s general election.

But the EFF and other leftist parties shunned the deal.

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula anticipated that the government would “gravitate to the centre” — backed by the DA, the Inkatha Freedom Party, and other smaller groups.

“We have reached a breakthrough on the common agreement that we need to work together,” Mbalula told a news conference in Cape Town.

EFF chief Julius Malema, a former ANC youth leader wants to nationalise land and some privately owned businesses. He says his group was not ready to join hands with right-wing parties.

Graft-tainted former president Jacob Zuma’s new party, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), disputes the May 29 election results and its MPs boycotted Friday’s first sitting of the 400-member assembly.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish.