ANC has been warned ‘Don’t make pact with Democratic Alliance’

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South African workers demonstrate during the downfall of Zuma when he was the President

IT HAS been predicted the African National Congress (ANC) will have a tough time persuading its alliance partners to get into a pact with the right wing Democratic Alliance (DA) following the party’s disastrous performance in this week’s elections.

In provinces such as the Eastern Cape, the ANC’s alliance partners, trade union federation COSATU and the South African Communist Party (SACP) confirmed that they met to discuss the matter on Saturday.

Their counterparts in the North West and Free State  dismissed the discussion as a contentious matter best left to national leaders.

COSATU secretary general Solly Phetoe told media the federation is vehemently opposed to such a move, saying: ‘The DA is still racist and petty, and it is not different from the National Party. If the ANC is going to engage with the DA regarding coalition, as COSATU, we are not going to agree to such.’

He said the DA marched to COSATU House after Worker’s Day to demand that the minimum wage should be scrapped. ‘We are not going to agree with the ANC to have a coalition with the party that has pronounced against the rights of the workers.’

Phetoe said DA leader John Steenhuisen is racist. ‘We can engage other parties led by African black people; not the racist DA. I am not apologetic about that.’

SACP Western Cape provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu said they would also reject the move.

Ngqentsu said the DA’s election manifesto, among other things, commits to eliminating the national minimum wage, cutting the Unemployment Insurance Fund by 1.5%, weakening the power of trade unions, and halting the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme, all of which will erode the hard-won rights of the workers.

He stressed: ‘Collectively, the ANC, SACP, COSATU, and the broader mass democratic movement must go back to the drawing board.’

SACP KZN (KwaZulu-Natal) provincial secretary Themba Mthembu argued the ANC should rather be on the opposition benches than enter into a pact with the DA.

He said: ‘We cannot be so desperate to become part of the government. If it means we are on the opposition benches, that should be the option. But we can’t be in alliance with the DA.’

Edwin Mkhize, COSATU secretary, also bemoaned any talk of the ANC getting into bed with the blue party.  ‘It will be an assault on workers, and at no point will we support the move. The DA has a history of disrespecting workers’ rights.’

COSATU Western Cape provincial secretary Malvern De Bruyn said it ‘would not be ideal’ to have the DA as a partner.

He said: ‘If you look at the national policy of the DA, they support a government that is killing innocent children in Palestine.

‘I hope the ANC at the national level will look at other alternatives because there will be endless fights if they choose to partner with them.’

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) issued a statement on Sunday urging South Africans to reject any attempts to nullify the electoral outcome and delegitimise the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)’s work.

‘This is not to give the IEC a free pass on the alleged crookery in several voting districts. Political parties have produced electoral result slips that do not match the captured results on the IEC dashboard.

‘This reflects a discrepancy and validates the grievances the political parties have raised.

‘However, acknowledging these acts of crookery does not mean we should delegitimise the IEC’s overall work.

‘It merely means the IEC must address these complaints on a case-to-case basis, from affected voting districts, not drag the country backward by calling for a re-vote.

‘In addition, the IEC must hold to account the officials who committed these misconducts and expel them from future electoral processes.

‘SAFTU salutes the citizens of our country for going in numbers to cast their votes in the seventh democratic elections.

‘Despite glitches related to the internal incapacity of the IEC which caused delays and long cues, discouraging many from voting, the South African public who voted have decided on political parties of their choice.

‘The political parties who contested the elections knew that they were doing so in line with the Constitution’s provisions and requirements of the law.

‘Accordingly, they all signed the pledge of the electoral code of conduct, which denounces, amongst other things, threats against the Electoral Commission, members of the public, other parties, and the media.

‘Our call to each of them is that they must respect the population and the choices the people have made. If they have evidence of rigging, as they have picked up in some voting districts, they must submit those complaints to the IEC within the period prescribed by the law.

‘We call on the IEC to attend to and correct each of these complaints but still be able to declare the results within a stipulated timeframe of seven days.

‘1. It is encouraging to observe the ANC preliminarily accepting the election results, showing acceptance that they could not achieve a 50 plus one to govern alone.

They need a partner or partners to constitute a coalition government. No amount of threats can change the political reality of this electoral outcome.

‘2. Equally, the Democratic Alliance (DA), Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) must accept that they did not receive sufficient votes to constitute a government alone.

‘With few votes left to be counted, it is clear that they remain in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions.

‘3. Commendably, the EFF has said in their press briefing that the correction of the crookery that was picked up in some voting districts can only change the voting outcomes marginally, not significantly.

‘But they are willing to accept the electoral outcomes as reflected currently.

‘4. SAFTU calls on all political parties to resolve the mismatches and crookery on a case-to-case basis, from affected voting districts, and not to drag the country backward by calling for a re-voting.

‘Recounting in the affected voting districts can resolve the problem, not re-voting.

‘The rest of peace-loving South Africans must issue a clear message to all political parties not to turn our country into a bloodbath because they did not get what they wanted from the elections.

‘330 black and poor working class people died during the July 2021 organised mayhem.

‘We should not allow instability in our country because certain parties are not prepared to accept that South Africans rejected them on the ballot by giving them few votes.

‘We must stand ready to say no to opportunistic extremists who seek to impose the will of a minority through disguised threats of violence.

‘We say no to efforts to shred our Constitution and subvert our country from the rule of law.’

Trade union federation COSATU said on Sunday: ‘The Congress of South African Trade Unions congratulates all South Africans who contributed to the successful holding of our 7th democratic elections.

‘We applaud the tireless efforts of the staff of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Home Affairs, the media fraternity and countless other workers who ensured South Africa maintained its internationally renowned reputation for holding free and fair elections. The nation is indebted for your service.

‘COSATU is humbled by the faith millions of voters have once again placed in our dear ally, the African National Congress (ANC), which whilst not achieving an outright majority has emerged as the largest party nationally, with an outright majority in six provinces, as the leading party in the Northern Cape, and as the second and third largest parties in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

‘Whilst we campaigned for an outright majority for the ANC and hoped to avoid the instability that often accompanies coalition governments, we accept the results as the true reflection of the will of the people.

‘The fact that the ANC has once again emerged as the largest political party across the nation and has been given a clear mandate to form government, is a testimony to its historical and leadership role in society.

‘It is confirmation that ordinary South Africans have entrusted it to continue upon its transformation mandate and to deliver a better for all, in particular for working-class communities.

‘COSATU congratulates the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) as well as our Affiliates on a well-run campaign that overcame great odds.

‘We thank millions of workers, shop stewards and organisers who tirelessly crisscrossed the nation mobilising millions of workers to turn out in their numbers in support of the ANC.

‘We are grateful for their efforts and humbled by the confidence of workers and their families.’