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IFP Joins ANC and DA in South African Unity Government

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Mbeki edmond

Jun 12, 2024

South Africa Moves Toward Stability with New Coalition Government

The leader of South Africa's Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Velenkosini Hlabisa, announced on Wednesday that his party has agreed to join a government of national unity. This coalition includes the African National Congress (ANC) and the largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). Speaking at a media briefing in Durban, Hlabisa stated that the only options were to either become part of the government or remain in the opposition. He emphasized that the electorate demanded political parties find common ground.

This development follows the ANC's loss of its majority in last month's elections, leaving South Africans eagerly anticipating the formation of the next government. Although the DA and ANC have yet to comment, this marks the first official indication of an agreed unity government. The ANC had previously expressed its intention to form a unity government and had engaged with all opposition parties.

The new parliament, which is set to be sworn in on Friday, is expected to elect a president, with the ANC insisting that Cyril Ramaphosa must remain the country's leader. The ANC's vote share fell below 50% for the first time since Nelson Mandela's victory in 1994, necessitating coalition partners. The ANC received about 40% of the vote, the DA 22%, former President Jacob Zuma's MK party 15%, and the radical Economic Freedom Fighters 9%. The conservative IFP, with a strong Zulu base, secured around 4%.

Many ANC activists prefer a coalition with the EFF and MK, both led by former senior ANC officials, but such a coalition might alarm investors due to their policies on land seizure and mine nationalization. The business community favors a coalition between the ANC and DA. Including the IFP in the coalition could mitigate criticism that the ANC is "selling out" by collaborating with the DA, perceived by some as representing the white minority.

The DA opposes key ANC policies, including the black empowerment program and the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill for universal healthcare. Hlabisa assured IFP supporters that the party would maintain its identity in the coalition, recalling their previous coalition experience following the 1994 elections, when Mandela's ANC worked with the National Party and the IFP despite past conflicts.

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