South Africa’s president criticizes coalition partner amid heated dispute


South Africa’s major coalition partners find themselves in a bitter dispute shortly after agreeing to a power-sharing arrangement, as President Cyril Ramaphosa accuses Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen of attempting to establish a “parallel government” in violation of the constitution.

The explosive allegation reportedly appeared in a letter from President Ramaphosa to Mr. Steenhuisen on June 25, which has garnered attention from local media. The fallout from this confrontation has sent shockwaves through the markets, occurring at a time when the African National Congress (ANC) and the DA are expected to allocate cabinet positions and settle into their shared governance.

The ANC’s failure to secure an outright majority in last month’s election, the main opposition DA agreed to participate in a national unity government that would maintain President Ramaphosa’s leadership in exchange for DA politicians obtaining cabinet roles. Subsequently, the ANC also forged a coalition pact with eight smaller parties, prompting pressure on Mr. Ramaphosa to accommodate some of them in his cabinet.

Reports from local media indicate that after offering the DA six cabinet positions, Mr. Ramaphosa expressed his frustration in the letter when the DA insisted on two additional posts. This demand reportedly upset senior ANC figures, leading to accusations from President Ramaphosa that the DA was altering the terms of negotiation.

IPresident Ramaphosa also criticized Helen Zille, the DA’s influential federal chairperson, for demands he characterized as “offensive, condescending, and inconsistent with the constitution.” Moreover, local media disclosed that Mr. Ramaphosa had withdrawn his earlier commitment to assign the Trade and Industry Ministry to the DA, a move perceived as critical for bolstering South Africa’s struggling economy.

According to the reports 0224, in response to this setback, the DA leadership informed President Ramaphosa that the coalition agreement would be jeopardized unless he adhered strictly to the initial terms they had agreed upon. The escalating discord has alarmed observers as South Africa navigates uncharted political waters, having witnessed the ANC lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid in 1994, securing 40% of the vote compared to the DA’s 22%.

Initially perceived as typical negotiating tactics to secure advantageous terms, the leaked correspondence now suggests deeper divisions that threaten to derail the coalition deal inked on June 14. The potential collapse of this agreement has triggered a downturn in South Africa’s currency, the rand, against major currencies, compelling the business sector to advocate strongly for a resolution between the ANC and the DA to stabilize the economy.


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