SA’s ANC leaning towards government of national unity

Durban, June 6: The African National Congress is leaning towards trying to form a South African government of national unity with a wide range of parties, it said on Wednesday, citing the results of last week’s election in which it lost its governing majority.
The ANC has been talking to five parties, ranging from the free-marketeer Democratic Alliance (DA) to the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), its spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told a press conference in Johannesburg.
“I think the most important thing is to ensure that when the options that have been set out, such as a government of national unity, such as a minority government, are explored by the National Executive Committee tomorrow, that the best option would be looked at,” she said.
At this point in time the conversation is looking at the government of national unity because this is what the people of South Africa said to us.”
The ANC has run South Africa since Nelson Mandela led it to power in the 1994 elections that marked the end of apartheid, but voters punished it this time over persistent poverty and joblessness, rampant crime, corruption and frequent power cuts.
Still the largest party but no longer able to govern alone, the ANC said it was determined to unite the broadest range of sectors in society as it addressed what it described as the urgent need to move out of the current stalemate.
“We have been meeting with all parties that are keen to contribute ideas on how we can collectively move our country forward,” said Bhengu-Motsiri.
The ANC will have 159 seats out of 400 in the new National Assembly, while the DA will have 87. The populist uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), led by former president Jacob Zuma, will have 58 seats, the EFF 39, the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party 17 and the far-right Patriotic Alliance nine.
The business sector and investors have a strong preference for the ANC doing a deal with the DA, which is strongly pro-business and advocates scrapping some of the ANC’s Black empowerment policies on the basis that they haven’t worked.
The EFF’s policies, which include nationalising mines and banks and redistributing land from white to Black farmers, mean that it is viewed far less positively by markets and the private sector.