South African government gives 12 ministries to opposition – DW – 07/01/2024

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this Sunday (06/30/2024) that he would give 12 of the 32 ministries to opposition parties, after the African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled since the end of apartheid, lost its absolute majority.

However, the ANC was left with 20 ministerial posts, including key portfolios such as foreign affairs, finance, defence, justice, and police.

A statement from the presidential group described the cabinet announcement as “a significant step and a testament to the resilience of our democracy.”

Ramaphosa, 71, was re-elected to a second term by deputy Modi after the ANC struck an unprecedented deal with the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), the white-led centre-liberal party, following the May 29, 2024 general election, and other groups.

Steenhuisen will enter the government as agriculture minister, Ramaphosa announced on Sunday night. His party won six ministries, including education, public works and the environment.

According to the DA, the coalition cabinet represents “a new era in South Africa’s democratic journey”, which will have “zero tolerance for corruption”.

The president’s office announced in a statement that the new government would be composed of “diversity of political parties”.

“The creation of a government of national unity in its current form is unprecedented in the history of our democracy,” Ramaphosa announced in a televised address.

Priorities of the new government

He indicated “rapid, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and building a more just society while attacking poverty, inequality and unemployment” as the priorities of the new government.

In the talks, Ramaphosa had to strike a balance between the demands of his party and the rest of the coalition.

Thus, the Zulu nationalist-leaning Inkatha Freedom Party, the right-wing Freedom Front Plus, and other smaller groups shared six places in the cabinet.

These parties held portfolios in charge of agrarian reform, penitentiary service, sports, tourism, and public service.

The ANC, the party of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, was the most voted party in May’s elections, winning 159 of the chamber’s 400 seats. The DA came in second with 87 representatives.

Ramaphosa was faced with the challenge of forming a government that would tackle the problems of the economy, unemployment reaching historic highs, and address issues such as crime and the fight against crime.

South Africa, part of the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), also faces frequent power cuts due to deteriorating infrastructure.


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