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ANC Faces Coalition Challenges Amid South Africa's Political Shifts which leaves supporters on edge

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Ayize claire

Jun 7, 2024

Coalition Talks and Uncertainties

John Steenhuisen elected DA leader on left and ANC supporters showing dissatisfaction in a proposed coalition.

Sinah Molokwane, a lifelong member of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), is grappling with the party's need to share power for the first time since ending white minority rule 30 years ago. After losing its parliamentary majority due to voter frustration over economic stagnation, high unemployment, crime, and power blackouts, the ANC is now exploring coalition options.

Coalition Talks and Uncertainties

ANC leaders met on Thursday to discuss potential coalition partners, which could include the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the pro-business, white-led Democratic Alliance (DA). However, many ANC members find the idea of allying with the DA unpalatable due to the party's association with South Africa's apartheid past.

Demonstrators outside the meeting carried signs reading "Not in Our Names. NotWithTheDA."

Despite the DA's appeal to the business community and global investors, some ANC supporters, like 90-year-old Rosebella Joyi from East London, fear a return to white minority rule. The DA, which governs Western Cape province, has achieved economic success and lower unemployment rates, but its image as a party of white privilege persists.

Diverse Potential Partners

The ANC faces complications with various potential partners. The uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, led by former President Jacob Zuma, is a significant contender, holding 58 seats. However, Zuma's tumultuous history with the ANC and current leadership under President Cyril Ramaphosa complicate this option.

The EFF, with 39 seats, is considered a more natural fit. Led by Julius Malema, a former ANC youth wing leader, the EFF's policies of nationalising mines and banks and seizing white-owned land could destabilize the economy. Despite these concerns, some analysts believe the EFF's alignment with ANC ideals makes it a viable partner.

Potential Coalitions and Stability Concerns

The ANC is contemplating a government of national unity, including several parties, but internal documents describe this as an unstable alliance. A narrower coalition with the DA, which could offer top parliamentary positions, was rejected by ANC leadership.

With 159 seats in the National Assembly, the ANC's path forward remains uncertain. The DA holds 87 seats, the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party has 17, and the far-right Patriotic Alliance holds nine.

As South Africa navigates this new political landscape, ANC supporters like Molokwane remain anxious.

"I don't know if there would be peace," she said, reflecting the uncertainty facing the party.

The ANC's coalition conundrum is a critical test of its adaptability and ability to maintain stability while addressing the nation's pressing issues.

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