DA's Helen Zille Continues To Get Backlash Amid Government of National Unity Dispute

DA's Helen Zille Continues To Get Backlash Amid Government of National Unity Dispute

  • In a sharp rebuke of Helen Zille and the DA, the ANC, PA, and other leaders criticised the DA's perceived overreach in the government of national unity (GNU)
  • ANC Chief Whip Mdumiseni Ntuli and others emphasised that the DA is overstating its influence and cannot dictate the GNU's direction
  • Former public protector Thuli Madonsela clarified that the GNU's framework is constitutional and called for respectful communication among coalition partners

Reitumetse Makwea, a Briefly News current affairs journalist in Pretoria, South Africa, has covered local elections, policy changes, the State of the Nation Address and political news at The Citizen and Rekord Noweto for over five years.

ANC still in power
Fikile Mbalula said the GNU did not strip it of its power. Image: Image: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

In a sharp rebuke of the Democratic Alliance's (DA) Helen Zille, she has continued to receive backlash from fellow politicians and South Africans.

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Tensions within the coalition have been high, with the DA and PA currently embroiled in a public dispute.

However, the ANC's Chief Whip Mdumiseni Ntuli, the Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie, Kenny Kunene, and former public protector Thuli Madonsela quickly checked Zille.

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The DA is jumping the gun

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika on Thursday, Ntuli asserted that the DA is overstating its influence within the GNU:

“They are attempting to take control of the direction. When you read articles by Helen Zille and one by Ryan Coetzee, you can clearly see that this is a very condescending position, as they believe they hold the ANC.
"And if they go away, the national unity government will collapse. There is no such thing. The government is going to be set up by President Ramaphosa."

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Gayton McKenzie slams Helen Zille's PA GNU rejection

PA leader Gayton McKenzie also strongly slammed claims made by Helen Zille, chairperson of the DA’s federal council, that the PA should not expect to hold Cabinet positions without DA consultation.

Zille might have missed a few clauses herself

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela took to X to clarify the GNU and add that many members would need to learn to talk.

"For the GNU to run smoothly with minimum personality glitches getting in the way, some GNU partners may have to take some lessons on how to talk to and about fellow adults in ways that are persuasive and not condescending.
"Communication and underpinning leadership need to be ethical, purpose-driven, impact conscious and reflective of a commitment to serve all and with all as equals #SADemocracyAt30 #GNULeadership."

She also stated that regarding the GNU statement of intent, nothing stood that was unconstitutional.

Also important is to read everything with section 2 and when there are varied interpretations to choose one that is consistent with the Constitution.

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"The Cabinet Appointments clause clearly states ‘Whilst recognizing the President’s prerogative to appoint members of the Executive, such appointments should be done in consultation with the 'Leaders of the respective PARTIES OF THE MEMBERS CONSIDERED FOR APPOINTMENT’.
"There is no fettering of discretion regarding considering appointments beyond signatories and if there were that would be unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid.”

The DA is just a member.

Speaking to eNCA PA Deputy President Kenny Kunene echoed these sentiments, highlighting the ANC's inclusive approach.

"The ANC is still steadfast in their position that they've invited everyone. The DA was invited, like all of us... it is not the founding member of the GNU."

Adding to the conversation, ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula emphasised the party's stance, its historical leadership and resilience.

"It's essential to dispel any misconceptions regarding any one party’s ability to outmanoeuvre the ANC's vision. Historically, our party has demonstrated superior reasoning and leadership, evident in our continued presence in eight out of nine provinces."

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"The GNU, an ANC-led initiative, ensures that no single party, whether the DA, IFP, or others, can hold our national agenda hostage. The modalities of the GNU ensure representation and decision-making by all participating parties, safeguarding consensus-building and conflict resolution mechanisms."

ANC publicises GNU statement of intent, SA discusses

Briefly News reported that the ANC released the statement of intent of the government of national unity.

The statement, signed by the Democratic Alliance, was published in the African National Congress's latest "Conversations with the President" column.

South Africans weighed in on the statement of intent, with some opposing it and others questioning the ANC.

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Source: Briefly News

Reitumetse Makwea avatar

Reitumetse Makwea (Editor) Reitumetse Makwea is a Current Affairs journalist at Briefly News. She has a National diploma, Advanced diploma and Post-graduate diploma in Journalism from the Tshwane University of Technology. She first worked as a student journalist and freelancer for Caxton's Record Noweto and later joined The Citizen News, where she worked for a little over 3 years covering politics, environmental news, business, education, and health. Reitumetse joined Briefly News in 2024. Email: reitumetse.makwea@briefly.co.za