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ANC-DA coalition will reverse the gains of democracy: SAUS

todayJune 4, 2024 311

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The South African Union of Students (SAUS) says any coalition government that will reverse the gains of the country’s democracy will be a betrayal of the poor and the working class.

Political parties are currently locked in coalition talks as they race against time to form the 7th administration following the significant 2024 general elections.

At least 16.2 million South Africans cast their ballot in the recent elections, sending a strong message to all those in power to shape up or ship out.

The general polls saw the ANC drop to an underwhelming 40% and lose its outright majority for the first time in the new democratic dispensation.

The liberation movement dropped from 57% in 2019, leading to an administration that was rocked by various issues, including state capture, the 2021 July unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic, amongst others.

Also seemingly making way into the seventh administration is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm scandal.

A hot topic that several parties are already gunning for as soon as Parliament convenes, and a government is formed.

SAUS’s spokesperson, Asive Dlanjwa, says some political parties pose a threat to some of the strides that have been made to benefit students in the country.

“We do not want a situation whereby the ANC government will get into any coalition with an organisation that could compromise on these strides. There are organisations that are a threat to the gains made, one of them being the DA which in its policies and manifestos have been clear that the NSFAS budget must be cut, and it must be returned to a loan, that cannot be accepted,” says Dlanjwa.

Millions of South African students continue to benefit from NSFAS, with some even well into their careers.

Dlanjwa says the investment in NSFAS is not only a commitment to the country but to the development of human capital and building a developmental state.

Call for transparency

While talks continue to gain momentum, NGO, Defend Our Democracy, says all coalition agreements should be made public so that political parties can be held accountable.

Defend Our Democracy’s Executive Director, Zaakirah Vadi, says parties have one mandate when forming government and that is to put citizens first.

Vadi says politicians need to find a common ground to be able to build cohesive policies that will stabilise the country.

“South Africa has an unemployment rate of over 30% and that is exceptionally high, we have to reduce that unemployment rate, coupled with this are issues of poverty, existing inequality and serious challenges around service delivery,” she says.

Vadi adds that while the country has enjoyed an uninterrupted electricity supply over the past two months, energy problems haven’t been solved.

“There’s going to be a need to ensure that power stations work, whatever new measures that are being brought need to help businesses to keep the lights on, ensure that households have access to solar energy etc.”

 

Meanwhile, Business Unity South Africa has echoed the sentiments shared by many organisations, that critical challenges such as unemployment, economic growth and income inequality should be a top priority in the formation of a coalition government.

The organisation’s CEO Khulekani Mathe says while there is panic and uncertainty about the future, South Africa is not the only country to be led by a coalition government.

He says what should remain at the heart of the talks is forming an administration that will attract both local and global investment as well as foster economic growth.

“These elections provide us with an opportunity to put aside our political differences and ideological differences and work together to rebuild our country and put it on the path to inclusive growth and job creation.”

‘Power belongs to people’

Political analyst, Lesego More, says these elections are a clear indication that power remains with the people.

More says the highlight of the polls is how the ANC was able to display maturity and accept defeat.

“The results also affirmed the integrity of the IEC which has often been accused of being biased to the ANC. They were able to carry out an election that was not favourable to the ANC.”

More has stressed the need for a stable and inclusive coalition government to move the country forward.

“A stable coalition government in this sense would be to appreciate that one of our strengths as a country is to be able to embrace our diversities.”

He says bringing political parties such as the DA, EFF and IFP into a coalition would balance the KwaZulu-Natal dynamic.

This is after the MK Party has made it clear that it will not coalesce with the ‘ANC of Ramaphosa’.

More says bringing the radical EFF into government, will give the party a level of responsibility to not just criticise but be part of the solution.

He believes that a coalition with just the DA and ANC would prove to be detrimental in future.

“You want to avoid a situation where it’s a coalition with just the DA and the ANC and if they disagree, maybe the DA does not vote with the ANC and they walk away, then there’ll be a need to establish another coalition, which is not good at a national level.

“So, if you bring in enough parties, whoever disagrees and walks away, you know that you still have a good balance to be able to constitute a government.”

The stakes are high, and South Africans await with bated breath to see whether political parties will meet the 14-day deadline to form a government that will hopefully take the country to greater heights.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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