Government of National Unity: what the DA, ANC and IFP have agreed to

 ·14 Jun 2024

The final Government of National Unity (GNU) agreement was signed at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the venue hosting the first sitting of the seventh Parliament, on 14 June 2024.

The agreement currently bears the signatures from leaders of the country’s two largest political parties, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA), signalling their intent to form a government together.

It outlines that parties will cooperate “in both the Executive and the Legislature,” which means that this would encompass ministerial appointments and Parliament.

“The 2024 national and provincial election was highly contested and, at times, divisive [but] the people of South Africa expect us to work together as political parties,” read the document titled “Statement of Intent of the 2024 Government of National Unity.”

“It is in this context that we, as Political Parties that participated in the 2024 Elections and received seats in the national and provincial legislatures, pledge to cooperate through a voluntary GNU,” it added.

The agreement entails the DA voting in favour of Cyril Ramaphosa as President and Thoko Didiza as Speaker of the National Assembly. In return, the ANC will support the nomination of a DA candidate as Deputy Speaker.

The IFP is set to be given the role of chair of chairs.

The agreement does not currently include the signatures of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and at least five other parties that are expected to form part of the GNU.

The document leaves open the possibility that other parties may join the GNU later, subject to the agreement of the original parties.

ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula said that the document has been circulated to the parties which have been involved in discussions, with the final composition set to be announced by the incoming President.

According to this statement of intent, parties that want to form part of the GNU must commit to upholding the following principles:

  • Respect for the Constitution, the Bill of Rights in its entirety, a united South Africa and the rule of law;
  • Non-racialism and non-sexism;
  • Social justice, redress and equity, and the alleviation of poverty;
  • Human dignity and the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights;
  • Nation-building, social cohesion and unity in diversity;
  • Peace, stability and safe communities, especially for women and children;
  • Accountability, transparency and community participation in government;
  • Evidence-based policy and decision-making;
  • A professional, merit-based, non-partisan, developmental public service that puts people first;
  • Integrity, good governance and accountable leadership.

When it comes to the Executive, the agreement states that the GNU will be constituted “broadly taking into account the number of seats parties have in the National Assembly and the need to advance the national interest”.

In addition, GNU parties will be given leadership positions in “some committees” in Parliament based on proportional representation.

The document outlines nine broad priorities of the GNU, including:

  1. Economic Growth: Prioritise job creation, industrialisation, and infrastructure development.
  2. Poverty and Inequality: Address poverty, spatial inequalities, and food security.
  3. Basic Services and Workers’ Rights: Ensure access to basic services and protect workers’ rights.
  4. Local Government: Stabilise local government and enhance governance.
  5. Education and Healthcare: Invest in education and healthcare to empower citizens.
  6. Public Service: Restructure the public service for efficiency and effectiveness.
  7. Law Enforcement and Security: Strengthen law enforcement and national security.
  8. Parliamentary Functions: Improve parliamentary functions and oversight.
  9. Social Cohesion and Foreign Policy: Promote social cohesion, democratic participation, and a foreign policy based on human rights.

The full document can be found below:

Read: DA officially joins the ANC in forming new government

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