Opposition parties in South Africa have decided on a coalition government ahead of next year’s general election on the opening day of their convention.
Despite the squabbling and heated debates, the parties managed to make ‘significant’ headway by agreeing on the necessity for an opposition coalition to topple the ANC and keep the EFF out of the Union Buildings.
The DA, IFP, ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus, United Independent Movement, Spectrum National Party, and Isanco have agreed to form a coalition to challenge the ANC in the 2024 national election.
According to the convention chairperson Prof William Gumede, this pre-election multiparty coalition pact is the first of its sort in modern South Africa. Usually, multiparty deals are reached after the election, not seven months before.
“Essentially the coalition has been built based on today. There is a coalition and this is the first pre-electoral coalition in the modern era of South Africa that has actually been consolidated,” said Gumede.
“Yes there’s tomorrow and also some sticky issues, difficult tricky issues, but the core foundation has been laid, the pillars have been set and essentially now it’s to build the other parts.”
The group has decided that whichever administration is formed would have zero tolerance for corruption, will construct a capable governance system capable of providing services to all citizens, and will prioritize poor South Africans.
They used the opening day of the two-day convention to set priorities for their alliance if they receive enough votes to form a government after next year’s election.
These include establishing a government focused on building the economy and creating jobs, eliminating load shedding, battling crime, ensuring quality education and infrastructure, and ceasing cadre development.
The parties reached an agreement on the formation of a pre-election coalition arrangement that they claim will save South Africa from the ANC government.
This was a big conclusion of the opposition parties’ convention, which had major conflicts before the conference, according to Gumede. Gumede stated that a coalition agreement had been reached and that all that remained was to smooth out a few crucial problems.
“Yes there’s a convention, obviously the negotiations have been [there] ahead of the convention and some of the sticky points were discussed today or agreed upon today or wrestled today to get agreements and tomorrow is another day.
“There is still some critical issues outstanding though today was an absolutely significant day, really substantial issues to hold the coalition,” he said.
DA leader John Steenhuisen had to make concessions on a number of topics, including the name change and inviting other opposition parties. Gumede reported that the convention has voted to rename the Moonshot Pact concept to Multiparty Charter for South Africa.
Gumede added that the parties had also decided that in order to mount a meaningful challenge to the ANC, invitations to other opposition parties, including the Patriotic Alliance, will be offered.
“The parties agreed to broaden the number of parties in the agreement. The political parties resolved to extend invitations to all political parties in South Africa that subscribe to our vision, priorities of government, set governing principles and a prerequisite to unseat the ANC and keep the EFF out.
“All parties that subscribe and act according to these principles are requested to come forward and engage in talks to join the Multiparty Charter for South Africa.”