ANC considers GNU as talks with other political parties continue

ANC leaders held talks on Thursday to try to agree on potential partners to form a new SA government after the party lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in the democratic era.

While still the largest party, the ANC can no longer govern alone and signalled on Wednesday it would seek to form a government of national unity with a wide range of parties.

“This is a time for sober minds,” said ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula as members of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) gathered in Ekurhuleni for a day of talks.

“We’re looking at all options,” he told reporters.

Mbalula said President Cyril Ramaphosa would disclose what the NEC had decided in a closing address.

The election outcome has created a complex situation for the ANC, which will have 159 of the 400 seats in the new National Assembly.

Its nearest rivals are the pro-business, white-led DA, with 87 seats, the populist uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party led by former president Jacob Zuma, with 58, and the hard-left EFF with 39.

The MK Party confirmed in a statement on Thursday that “engagements with the [ANC] have indeed taken place regarding the coalition discussions”.

“A meeting is expected to take place soon, where the MK Party will hear the views presented with an open mind,” it said.

The new parliament has to convene within two weeks of Sunday’s results.

The constitutional deadline, which will fall on or near June 16, is putting pressure on the ANC and others to reach an agreement quickly.

Options could include a coalition government, a minority ANC government with backing on key votes from other parties in exchange for policy concessions, or a government of national unity.

“We have engaged with everybody and we are talking to even smaller parties. We want to bring everyone on board,” Mbalula said.

Image (Pres Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, and other NEC members agreed they will consider GNU at the ANC’s Lekgotla, held at Birchwood Hotel).

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