How about a Government of National Get-Things-Done?

Graphic: Karin Moolman
Graphic: Karin Moolman

The Patriotic Alliance wants home affairs and the EFF wants finance. I told you so.

The PA (now the sixth largest party in SA) wants to deliver on its single-item platform to screw illegal immigrants, the ones who look like them.

The EFF’s voting numbers dropped (9.5%, 39 seats) but not far enough to make it a non-contender as the single party to take the ANC over 50% to constitute a coalition government.

In exchange, it wants control over the country’s money and then to control that pesky speaker who keeps throwing dishonourable members out of parliament.

Question: why is no-one demanding the education portfolio?

Of course, there’s nothing to raid there besides NSFAS and that damage has already been done; the cupboard is bare. In fact, some provincial governments are earnestly into “budget cuts.”

This is a good time to revisit my friend Justice Malala’s book, or at least read the title: We are about to begin our descent.

The metaphor works because the turbulence on this aeroplane is going to be rough.

Like recent Boeing aircraft (the 737 Max 9), there will be more than a few screws loose on our political aircraft.

Expect very strange and unexpected things to happen, or as political pundits like to put it, we are in unchartered waters (shift of metaphors).

But let’s first take in this moment.

South Africans (if only 58.57% of eligible voters) made it clear that they have had enough of the ANC.

Why is this significant? Because in postcolonial Africa, the liberation party decides whether it has had enough of you, the voting fodder, not the other way round.

Look no further than Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, which credibly lost elections to the opposition and responded with extreme violence against opponents and their followers.

SA has thankfully not gone down that road, bucking an African trend.

We have a strong democracy and robust institutions and for these we should be grateful.

When President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his resignation to the party, we would have witnessed a smooth transition of power.

I wonder if Donald Trump’s US is watching.

Four things are clear from the elections. Our future is coalitions.

The ANC will never again win a clear majority for the liberation dividend has within a mere three decades, run its course.

The DA will never win outside the Western Cape.

And minority parties will be the kingmakers of the future.

But who will go into coalition with whom? It is hard to say.

The middle classes and the business community are pushing for a DA/ANC coalition. This will stabilise the rand, they say, and encourage investment.

If the question is, what is in the best interests of the country, this is probably a sensible option.

Such a choice will require that the ANC overlooks the less-than-subtle politics of whiteness on which the DA survives.

The working classes want a coalition of black parties such as the ANC/EFF/MK.

If the question is, what do the masses want, then this is the more appropriate option.

This choice will require the ANC to hold its nose and pretend not to spell the added stench of corruption that the smaller parties (and itself) are so committed to.

There is of course an intersecting point in a Venn-diagram, a space in which these two interests overlap: the economic interests of the middle classes and the social interests of the working classes.

Here the obvious coalition would be the ANC/DA/IFP. Reminds one of the first GNU, not so?

Tough choices lie ahead but coalition politics by definition mean that you do not get everything you want, yet at the same time you now have a seat at the table when it comes to national government.

I think that is what the people want: not the lousy spectacle of parties routinely shouting at and insulting each other, but one in which MPs work together to get this country back on track.

How about a Government of National Get-Things-Done?

In that case, with an ANC/DA/IFP coalition, give finance and foreign affairs to the ANC, education and health to the DA, and home affairs and land reform to the IFP.

Under astute leadership from the president, here is a built-in checks and balances operation that represents the will of the people.

For what came out loud and clear from the elections is that no-one has a mandate to go it alone and that the will of the people is co-governance and not the domination of one party.

Will the politicians listen?


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