Politics, Africa

South Africa’s ANC contemplates forming government of national unity

ANC, in power since 1994, failed to get a majority for first time and will have to put together a coalition to form next government

Hassan Isilow  | 06.06.2024 - Update : 06.06.2024
South Africa’s ANC contemplates forming government of national unity


South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party is contemplating forming a government of national unity that will bring political parties to work together, an official said Wednesday.

“South Africans want us to put together a multiparty arrangement that works for the benefit of the country,’’ ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told reporters in Johannesburg.

She said the result of the May 29 national election, which did not produce an outright winner, indicates that South Africans want all political parties to work together for the benefit of the people and country.

The ANC, once led by the late global icon Nelson Mandela, dominated South African politics for the past three decades until losing its majority in national and provincial elections last Wednesday.

The party, which used to secure more than 60% in all elections since 1994, except in 2019, when its share dipped to 57.5% -- got only 40.18% of the vote. This has put it in a difficult position to form a government on its own.

“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,” Bhengu-Motsiri said.

She said the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet Thursday to discuss which parties could join them in forming the government of national unity. The party publicist also said the ANC will also discuss possibilities of having a minority government.

Bhengu-Motsiri said the former liberation movement has contacted all political parties regarding the possibility of working together.

The ANC, which had 230 members of parliament in the previous house (May 2019-May 2024), saw its support fall to 159 seats in the May 29 elections. There are 400 seats in South Africa’s national parliament.

The official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) got 87 seats, while former President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe party garnered 58 seats, pushing the Economic Freedom Fighters party led by Julius Malema to the number four position after getting 39 seats. There are 14 other political parties represented in the soon to be inaugurated new parliament sharing the remaining seats.

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