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South Africa's Political Landscape Redrawn: ANC and DA Unite in Groundbreaking Coalition

Friday 14 June 2024 - 16:50
South Africa's Political Landscape Redrawn: ANC and DA Unite in Groundbreaking Coalition

In a historic shift that promises to redefine South Africa's political trajectory, the long-standing adversaries, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA), have forged an unprecedented alliance, agreeing to collaborate in a government of national unity. This stunning development marks the end of three decades of ANC political dominance and ushers in a new era of multi-party governance.

"Today, the 14th of June 2024, will go down in the annals of history as the start of a new chapter for our beloved country," declared John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, in a statement released in Cape Town on Friday. After two weeks of intensive negotiations that culminated on the very day Parliament convened for its inaugural session, the DA, the ANC, and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) finalized the terms of their historic coalition.

Steenhuisen acknowledged the profound significance of this moment for the DA, a broadly centrist and pro-business party that has long been the official opposition to the ANC and a vocal critic of its governance. "It is difficult to overstate just how significant this moment is for the Democratic Alliance," he affirmed, adding that the party will now "govern the Republic of South Africa in a spirit of unity and collaboration."

The DA leader expressed gratitude to the 3.5 million South Africans who cast their votes for the party, underscoring that the DA will no longer solely serve as an opposition force at the national level. "Instead, the DA now becomes the second-biggest party inside a multi-party national government," Steenhuisen stated.

The recent general election, held last month, failed to produce an outright majority for any single party, setting the stage for the formation of a coalition government. Support for the ANC plummeted to 40.18%, a substantial decline from the 57.5% it garnered in the 2019 elections. The DA garnered 21.8% of the vote, while former President Jacob Zuma's newly-formed uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK) secured 14.59%, and the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) obtained 9.52%.

Fikile Mbalula, the ANC's Secretary General, had hinted at a breakthrough in coalition negotiations during a press conference on Thursday in Cape Town. Sihle Zikalala, a member of the ANC's governing body, took to X (formerly Twitter) to herald the beginning of a new era, writing, "Today marks the beginning of a new era where we put our differences aside and unite for the betterment of all South Africans."

According to reports from TimesLive and other local media outlets, Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC leader, will remain the country's president under the terms of the coalition agreement.

The formation of this multi-party government has already had a positive impact on South Africa's financial markets, with the rand currency trading up approximately 0.3% against the dollar, buoyed by the reports of the ANC-DA coalition, widely viewed as the preferred option by investors and market analysts.

As South Africa embarks on this uncharted political journey, the nation holds its collective breath, eager to witness the unfolding of a new era marked by unity, collaboration, and a shared commitment to the betterment of all its people.

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