Ramaphosa won’t step down - ANC declares ahead of coalition talks with rivals

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 2 June 2024 at 01:06

The African National Congress (ANC) party has announced that it will not entertain any demands for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down as a condition for forming a coalition with rival parties, following a dismal performance in the just-concluded elections.

ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula announced on Sunday that the party will be holding talks with other rival political outfits in the coming days after losing its parliamentary majority in the May 29 election. With more than 99 per cent of the votes counted, the party garnered 40 per cent of the vote, ending its 30-year dominance since the end of apartheid in 1994.

“The ANC is committed to the formation of a government that reflects the will of the people, that is stable and that is able to govern effectively. The ANC is committed to pursue a path of fundamental social and economic change for which it has received a firm mandate.

“Over the next few days, the ANC will be having discussions within the organisation and with other parties and stakeholders on how best to establish national and provincial governments that reflect the will of the people, and that are able to take the country forward,” Mbalula stated.

In South Africa, unlike many countries in the African continent, the president is elected by Parliament after national elections.

Among the parties ANC is expected to engage are John Steenhuisen’s Democratic Alliance, which received 21 per cent of the vote, and the new uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK) of former President Jacob Zuma, who has turned against the ANC he once led. The MKP ranked third with just over 14 per cent of the vote in the first election it has contested. Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) finished fourth with just over 9 per cent.

Mbalula said the ANC would not consider any demands from potential coalition partners that Ramaphosa step down as a condition for negotiations.

“If you come to us with the demand that Ramaphosa must step down as the President, that is not going to happen,” the SG said, adding, “We don’t have such a mandate. We are not going to engage with political parties on the basis that we don’t want to talk to so-and-so. That is a no-go area for anyone. If you come to us with such a demand, forget it.”

Mbalula further noted that the ANC has many reservations about MKP, saying, “But we will talk to them.”

During the presser, the ANC accepted its shortcomings, telling South Africans the results sent a strong message to the once-dominant party.

“We wish to assure the people of South Africa that we have ward them. We have heard their concerns, their frustrations and their dissatisfaction,” the party said amid concerns over joblessness, inequality and power shortages in the country.

The 2024 election results mark a significant drop from the 57.5 per cent the legacy party of Nelson Mandela garnered in the 2019 parliamentary election.

ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula said ANC will not consider any demands from potential coalition partners that President Cyril Ramaphosa step down as a condition for negotiations.