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Ramaphosa re-elected as South Africa’s president as ANC strikes coalition deal

Neelam Rahim |

4-minute read
15 June 2024 | 13:09 CAT

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as a member of Parliament in Cape Town on Friday. PHOTO: WIKUS DE WET/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected by lawmakers for a second term, hours after his African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance (DA) agreed to form a coalition, leaving parties like the EFF, the UDM and Al Jama-ah in the cold.

Although EFF leader Julius Malema was also voted for as a candidate for president, it was an almost foregone conclusion that Ramaphosa would continue with a second term in office. He was re-elected by lawmakers with 283 votes.

The deal between the two parties is the most momentous political shift in South Africa since Nelson Mandela led the ANC to victory in the 1994 election that marked the end of apartheid.

The ANC lost its majority for the first time in an election on May 29 and spent two weeks in talks with other parties that went down to the wire on Friday morning as the new Parliament was convening in Cape Town.

The ANC’s vote share collapsed in large part due to the new uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party, named for the ANC’s armed wing during apartheid. It came to a surprise third place in the election with 14.6% of the vote, just six months after it was launched by former president Jacob Zuma in December, who has feuded bitterly with Ramphosa since being forced to resign the presidency in 2018.

The MK party, which wants to replace constitutional democracy with parliamentary supremacy, boycotted Parliament’s opening after the country’s top court rejected a legal challenge to the election results. It has said it would not work with the ANC while it is led by Ramaphosa, who said potential coalition partners needed to respect the constitution.

Meanwhile, The final Government of National Unity (GNU) agreement was signed on June 14 2024.

The agreement currently bears the signatures from leaders of the country’s two largest political parties, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA), signalling their intent to form a government together.

It outlines that parties will cooperate “in both the Executive and the Legislature,” which means that this would encompass ministerial appointments and Parliament.

The agreement entails the DA voting in favour of Cyril Ramaphosa as President and Thoko Didiza as Speaker of the National Assembly. In return, the ANC will support nominating a DA candidate as Deputy Speaker.

The IFP is set to be given the role of chair of chairs.

The agreement does not currently include the signatures of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and at least five other parties that are expected to form part of the GNU.

The document leaves open the possibility that other parties may join the GNU later, subject to the agreement of the original parties.


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