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Progressive Caucus questions ANC’s GNU

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Johnathan Paoli

A last minute plea by a group of political parties for the ANC to shun the DA and go into a coalition with parties on the left has fallen on deaf ears as reports emerged that a deal has been struck between the ANC and DA that will retain President Cyril Ramaphosa in his position.

Reports coming as the National Assembly was in session to swear-in MPs revealed that the ANC and the DA, together with IFP and PA had agreed on Speaker and Deputy Speaker positions which will be shared by ANC and DA.

The reports came hours after Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu, in representing a grouping of several parties under the name Progressive Caucus – is calling upon the ANC to form an alternative government and stop misleading the nation about its preferred alliance with the DA.

Following a meeting with the ANC on Friday morning, Shivambu confirmed an alliance of several parties including the Al-Jamaah party, African Transformation Movement (ATM), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), United Africans Transformation (UAT) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) who wrote collectively to the ANC, expressing their intentions.

Shivambu said, despite overtures from the ANC, the parties intend to negotiate as a collective and not individually.

He said, even though the ANC has not replied to certain parties, the caucus remains willing to constitute a government with the ANC and elect presiding officers in an attempt to prevent forces representing colonialism and apartheid from being represented.

The caucus criticised their side-lining from participating in the coalition between the ANC, the DA and the (IFP, and said their right to be integral participants in shaping a government of national unity and ensuring the effectiveness of Parliament was being undermined.

“The Progressive Caucus has the right to form an integral part of the discussions which will develop a government of national unity and ensure the creation of an effective Parliament,” said Shivambu.

This is a U-turn from the EFF after Julius Malema earlier rejected participating in a government of national unity with what he called right-wing parties and maintained the party’s stance against forces which stand in the way of transformation, he said.

Meanwhile, ATM leader Vuyo Zungula said the ANC has formed a coalition with its preferred partners but keeps misleading the public that it is working on the formation of a government of national unity.

“What we have now is the ANC approaching parties individually. They’ve created an impression to the citizens that they want everyone, all parties to be involved. But what they are doing practically is including their own parties, and agreements they already made,” Zungula said.

Zungula said smaller parties have been left out in the ANC’s strategy of misleading about its true intentions, and if it was truly a government of national unity, the party would have reached out to everyone on equal terms.

“The intention of the ANC is to get into a coalition with their preferred coalition partners, and the intention of this briefing is to inform South Africans that there is no GNU in the country,” Zungula said.

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