The opposition party has agreed to participate in South Africa’s unity government.


The leader of South Africa’s Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has announced that his party will join a government of national unity alongside the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA), the largest opposition party. Velenkosini Hlabisa made this declaration during a media briefing in Durban, emphasizing that their choices were limited to either participating in the government or remaining in opposition.

“The people of South Africa have mandated political parties to find common ground,” Mr. Hlabisa stated, addressing reporters on Wednesday. This decision comes as the nation awaited clarity on the composition of the next government following the ANC’s loss of its parliamentary majority in recent elections.

While the DA and ANC have yet to officially comment on this development, it marks the first formal indication of an agreed-upon government of national unity. The ANC had previously expressed its intention to form such a government and had engaged with various opposition parties across the country.

The new parliament is scheduled to be sworn in on Friday, with expectations that a president will be elected. The ANC aims to finalize the unity government deal by then, insisting that Cyril Ramaphosa retains leadership. This electoral outcome marks the ANC’s first dip below the 50% threshold since Nelson Mandela’s historic 1994 victory, ending apartheid and ushering in a democratic era.

In the recent elections, the ANC garnered approximately 40% of the vote, with the Democratic Alliance securing 22%, followed by the MK party of former President Jacob Zuma at 15%, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) at 9%. The IFP, known for its conservative stance and strong Zulu base, secured about 4% of the vote share.

While some within the ANC prefer coalition talks with the EFF and MK, both led by former senior ANC figures, potential policies advocating land expropriation without compensation and nationalization of mines raise concerns among investors. Conversely, a coalition between the ANC and DA is favored by the business community, as it could ensure policy continuity and economic stability.

Incorporating parties like the IFP into the coalition helps deflect criticism that the ANC leadership is compromising its principles by collaborating with the DA, which some South Africans associate with the interests of the white minority. The DA opposes key ANC policies, including the black empowerment initiative aimed at redressing economic inequalities from apartheid and the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, designed to provide universal healthcare.

“We will engage in the government of national unity to serve our country and address the challenges faced by our people,” Mr. Hlabisa reassured IFP supporters, pledging that the party’s identity would remain intact. The IFP has previous experience working in coalition governments, dating back to the post-1994 era when ANC, NP, and IFP collaboration helped stabilize South Africa following years of internal conflict.

This decision comes amid a complex political landscape where historical rivalries and contemporary policy differences must be navigated to forge a functional unity government. The ANC’s need for coalition partners underscores shifting political dynamics and the imperative to balance governance with diverse stakeholder interests in post-apartheid South Africa.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Enable Google Transliteration.(To type in English, press Ctrl+g)