South Africa

ANC’s best option is a government of national unity

South Africa’s African National Congress has begun talks with its rivals on the formation of a new government after last month’s elections failed to produce an outright winner.

The party is considering a government of national unity that would include a number of parties, ANC spokeswoman Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told reporters on Wednesday.

“The best option” at this point is “looking at the government of national unity because this is what the people of South Africa said to us — put together a multiparty arrangement that works for the benefit of South Africa,” she said.

Bhengu-Motsiri spoke after a meeting of the ANC’s National Working Committee, which oversees the day—to-day running of the party.

Any decisions will have to be taken by its larger National Executive Committee, which meets on Thursday.

The ANC won marginally more than 40% of the vote in the 29 May elections, losing its parliamentary majority for the first time and meaning it will have to rely on its main rivals to retain power.

They are the business-friendly Democratic Alliance, the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters and possibly former President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe Party, or MKP.

“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,” Bhengu-Motsiri said.

“Our door remains open as we continue to reach out to every party that is keen to contribute positively to moving our country forward.”

Attempts to reach out to Zuma’s MKP failed to elicit a positive response, Bhengu-Motsiri said.

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen on Tuesday ruled out working with either the EFF or MKP, which both favour nationalising mines and banks.


Top JSE indices