The cabinet positions the DA, IFP and PA have eyes on

 ·20 Jun 2024

All eyes are on newly sworn-in President Cyril Ramaphosa, with negotiations about the composition of the seventh administration’s cabinet still underway.

The African National Congress (ANC), along with the Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and other smaller parties supported Ramaphosa’s nomination and election as President in parliament on 14 June.

As a result, they are expected to be “rewarded” with cabinet appointments.

However, the consultations for these appointments are expected to be a rigorous juggling act, given the need to accommodate the wide-ranging parties that are part of the Government of National Unity (GNU), as well as those within the ANC and its alliance partners.

The ANC, DA, IFP, PA, GOOD, and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) have thus far signed the statement of intent to form part of the GNU – making up 274 out of the 400 seats in the National Assembly.

Additionally, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald told Business Day that his party has submitted documents to the ANC to form part of the GNU, which would add six seats to the bloc.

The ANC is reported to also be trying to woo the United Democratic Movement (UDM) (which has three seats) to join the GNU.


What the GNU statement of intent says about cabinet appointments

Appointments are expected to largely be based on proportional representation.

This is seen in clause 16 of the statement of intent, which reads that the GNU will be constituted by “broadly taking into account the number of seats parties have in the National Assembly… the President shall, in constituting the Executive, take into account the electoral outcomes.”

PartyNational Assembly seatsGNU bloc share
ANC15958%
DA8732%
IFP176%
PA93%
GOOD10.4%
PAC10.4%
Total274
The GNU composition as of the morning of 20 June 2024.

“Whilst recognizing the President’s prerogative to appoint Members of the Executive, such appointments should be done in consultation with the Leaders of the respective Parties of the Members considered for appointment,” reads the statement of intent.


The positions that some parties are eyeing

Note: Due to the rigorous nature of these negotiations, all of the below mentioned positions are from some of the utterances of senior party leaders over the past week, and are not a final indication of what the final cabinet would look like.

Most political parties are keeping their cards very close to their chests, and thus, the full picture and outcome of the negotiations will only be clear after President Ramaphosa formally announces the cabinet.


ANC

The statement of intent has thus far seen the ANC receive the backing of the President and Speaker of Parliament.

Numerous reports, as well as interviews with ANC leaders, have outlined that the party’s top brass have called for continuity in the ANC in the following ministry clusters:

  • Economic cluster (finance, labour and perhaps trade and industry);
  • Peace and Security cluster (Defence and Military Veterans, Home Affairs, International Relations and Cooperation, Justice and Correctional Services, Police and State Security).

One of these key economic positions that has been widely speculated about is that of the finance ministry.

Previously, the ANC debated whether a non-political, independent finance minister could be recruited from the private sector as a compromise with its coalition partners—a suggestion that was thwarted by its alliance partners, the SACP and Cosatu.

An ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member told the Sunday Times that the position was “too critical and important” to the “transformation agenda” of the party and its alliance partners to let go of.

They thus reportedly want to retain Enoch Godongwana as minster of finance, which they say will both appease the ANC and its alliance partners, as well as quell adverse reactions from the markets and the business sector. 

DA

The GNU statement of intent has thus far seen the DA clinch the Deputy Speaker of Parliament position.

The DA have held their cards relatively close to their chest on specific cabinet position matters.

Although not giving too much away, DA leader John Steenhuisen told Newzroom Afrika on 19 June that they would be looking at securing posts through which they could tackle the seven main priorities in their election manifesto.

This was doubled down on by high-ranking DA member Siviwe Gwarube, who told News24 that “we are looking… to deliver on our key promises of lifting people out of poverty, putting people into work, resolving the energy crisis, resolving the water crisis and stopping the violent crime we are seeing in our communities… and that is what we seek to do and achieve in the national government.”

One of the ministries that Steenhuisen has revealed its card on is that of a minister in the presidency, which it has said would perfectly fit some of its delivery goals.

Speaking on 702 this week, DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille echoed this, saying, “It would be very appropriate for the DA to have a minister in the presidency if we’re not going for the president or the deputy president.”

The Minister in the Presidency is politically accountable for several key entities: the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Statistics South Africa, the Government Communication and Information System, the Media Development and Diversity Agency, Brand South Africa, and the State Security Agency.

Zille also hinted that, although it is not a ministerial position, the DA is eyeing the leader of government business.

The leader of government businesses is appointed by Ramaphosa (it was previously given to his deputy, but there is no legal obligation for this) and is responsible for ensuring Cabinet members fulfil their parliamentary duties and that legislation initiated by the Cabinet is handled timely and correctly.

IFP

The GNU agreement outlines that the IFP will receive the position of chair of chairs in Parliament.

This is not the IFP’s first stint in cabinet. In the 1994 GNU, the IFP held the ministries of home affairs, correctional services and arts, culture, technology and science.

The IFP has kept mum on the positions that it may be eyeing this time around, but there is speculation that it may receive two or three cabinet posts.

The ANC has hinted that the IFP might be handed the Department of Traditional Affairs, a post that is currently part of the Department of Local Government but may be separated.

Like the DA, the IFP said that it would want positions which would help it deliver on its election manifesto, which is dealing with the high levels of crime, unemployment, load shedding, corruption, and what it calls the “collapsing education system and broken health system”.

Previous reports that IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa could get a ceremonial post as second deputy president have been thwarted because such an appointment would require a constitutional amendment.

PA

The PA president, Gayton McKenzie, indicated that the party would preferably want one of the Ministries of:

  • Home Affairs;
  • Police; or
  • Sport.

McKenzie has consistently said his request for the Home Affairs Department stems from his belief that South Africa’s immigration system needs to be overhauled.

If the party does not get home affairs, McKenzie, a former gangster and gang boss, said that his experiences with lawlessness put him in a unique position to tackle rising crime levels.

“None of them [other politicians] are equipped to deal with the mafias, with the murder rates we are seeing. South Africa needs me,” said McKenzie.

PA deputy president Kenny Kunene said that these are the positions that best suit meeting their manifesto promises.

“We don’t want positions for the fun of it. Those are the positions where we’ll be able to implement our manifesto points. Where we’ll be able to fight crime and corruption, where we’ll be able to mass deport illegal immigrants and make sure that our borders are protected,” said Kunene.

“We want positions or portfolios that can assist us to do what we promised,” he added.

When asked why the PA is also eyeing sports, the party said, “A kid in sport is a kid out of court.”

GOOD

One cabinet position (minister or deputy minister) is expected to be given to GOOD’s leader and sole member of parliament, Patricia de Lille.

De Lille served as a minister in the sixth administration, first heading the public works department and then tourism.

Reports have circulated that de Lille may retain her post in the tourism department, although nothing has been confirmed.

When GOOD was asked if de Lille was in line for a Cabinet post, the party said: “We [did not] make any demand for any positions in the GNU.”

“Our support for the GNU was made in the interests of furthering our commitment to a coherent national programme which includes GOOD’s four foundational pillars of justice: social justice, spatial justice, economic justice and environmental justice,” it added.

PAC

The PAC are the newest signatories of the statement of intent of the GNU.

Although it remains unclear what the one-seat party is eyeing, the party released a statement saying that “a crucial aspect of our engagement in the GNU negotiations is the restitution of land.”

The party said that its focus in future discussions within the GNU will be “comprehensive land restitution that addresses historical injustices and empowers the dispossessed.”


Read: Government of National Unity now has a supermajority in South Africa

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