We won't be taken hostage over seats on Gauteng executive: Helen Zille

ANC's proposal 'doesn't reflect election, and is not proportional or inclusive'

DA federal council chair Helen Zille and DA leader John Steenhuisen. Zille says the ANC is acting as if it still has an overall majority.
DA federal council chair Helen Zille and DA leader John Steenhuisen. Zille says the ANC is acting as if it still has an overall majority.
Image: Alet Pretorius/file image

DA federal council chair Helen Zille announced that her party and the ANC have not reached an agreement on the composition of a Gauteng government after the two parties failed to agree on a statement of intent.

This is despite a meeting to advance negotiations between the parties on Tuesday having made “some progress”, she said. “Until now, the ANC has been prepared to offer the DA a maximum of three out of 10 cabinet seats, without telling us how many seats they intend to take for themselves, and how many they propose to offer to other parties.

“The ANC today conceded that they had intended to allocate three seats to the DA, and seven to themselves, out of a cabinet of 10 including the ANC premier.”

Zille criticised the move, saying the allocation fell far short of the requirements set out in clause 16 of the statement of intent, given that the DA comprises 45% and the ANC 55% of the government of provincial unity (GPU).

“It also excluded the IFP that has been part of the national agreement from the start. We stated that this intention did not meet the requirement of good faith to the original signatories of the government of national unity (GNU).

“The ANC’s position also illustrated that their refusal to discuss with us which other parties they wished to include was a smokescreen to hide the fact that they were planning to allocate a full seven to themselves, while leaving us with three,” said Zille.

The federal council chair characterised the allocation as not reflecting the election outcome, nor was it broadly proportional or inclusive, she said.

“At the discussions today, the ANC offered to reduce the seven to six, retain the DA at three and give the IFP or PA one. We welcome the IFP’s possible inclusion but point out that this is still far short of the requirements of clause 16 of the national statement of intent.”

Clause 16 states: “The government of national unity shall be constituted in a manner that reflects genuine inclusiveness of political parties that are party to this statement of intent and are represented in the National Assembly broadly, taking into account the number of seats parties have in the National Assembly and the need to advance the national interest. The president shall in constituting the executive, take into account the electoral outcomes.”

Despite claiming that her party is prepared to enter into a marriage with the ANC on a power-sharing basis in the province, it is not prepared to be co-opted by the ANC on their own terms, acting as if it still has an overall majority, she said.

“We cannot agree to be taken hostage in a government of provincial unity. As far as committee chairs in the Gauteng legislature are concerned, the proposal was that the DA would take six out of a total of 17.

“The DA was prepared to accept this allocation, despite a significant shortfall, on the basis of the executive reflecting the letter and spirit of the statement of intent,” she explained.

Zille said her party remained open to further negotiation when the ANC was “genuinely committed to treating us as a party that is almost the same size as they are in Gauteng”.

“We will, again, come to the table in an atmosphere of mutual respect and negotiate in good faith.

“There is still work to do: we must work through the statement of intent to ensure that we have the same understanding. And we must reach an agreement for the genuine sharing of power so that we can properly serve the voters of Gauteng as the electorate intended.”

This means that the people of Gauteng will have to wait a while longer for premier Panyaza Lesufi to form a government. 

The premier's efforts to appoint his executive were blocked by the ANC's national leadership twice before, after failing to reach an agreement with the DA.

It was expected that he would make an announcement on Tuesday. 

On Monday Lesufi failed to announce his executive with the ANC in the province blaming a “spoilt” DA for the delay. 

During an impromptu media briefing on Monday, provincial leader Lebogang Maile lashed out at the DA, arguing that it was negotiating with the ANC via the media. He said the ANC had formed a government of provincial unity with other parties and planned to go ahead with or without the DA.

“So the DA must not create an impression that they have boycotted, because, as the secretary is saying, we have deadlocked with them, and once we deadlocked, we then finalised with other parties. So from where we are sitting, we don't have an agreement with the DA so they are not boycotting anything. They're just trying to create attention for themselves,” Maile said.

He said the ANC was guided by the framework which said all parties should be invited to form a government.

“We have concluded with other parties, it's only the DA that is acting like a spoilt brat,” Maile said.


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