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National Security News

South Africa

OPINION: GNU in South Africa, smart move by Ramaphosa, KZN biggest threat to stability – Prof Theo Venter


In a historic moment for South Africa, a Government of National Unity has been formed in South Africa between the African National Congres (ANC) and one of the parties fiercest critics, the Democratic Alliance. Two smaller parties, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Patriotic Alliance have also agreed to participate in the government that will be lead by President Cyril Ramaphosa who was re-elected in a late-night session of Parliament. Prof Theo Venter, a political analyst from the University of Johannesburg has described the newly formed government as a positive step in resolving political issues in South Africa. The Kwazulu-Natal, with a large number of supporters of former President Jacob Zumamm he says remains the biggest threat to stability in South Africa.

Viewed from the inside-out and outside-in the newly formed Government of National Unity (GNU) in South Africa presents two different animals. The view from inside the country is that the ANC had to look for political partners to stay in government, despite huge ideological differences.

The smart thing Ramaphosa did was to invite all parties to the table who agreed on certain fundamental principles such as the rule of law and constitutionalism. From the onset it was clear that the new political kid on the bloc the MK Party of Zuma and the EFF of Malema would not agree to most of these and other preconditions. A coalition was formed in the name of a GNU to become the new government of which we will see its membership by 21 June 2024 at the earliest. The generic principles of the GNU has been published but a great deal of horse trading will still take place behind closed doors.

Viewed from the outside-in the formation of the GNU is a positive step in resolving political issues in South Africa since it is a coalition of parties left of centre in coalition with parties to the right of centre economically speaking. This happened to the exclusion of the far left and radical left parties such as the EFF and the MKP.

They are off course not only to the far left of centre, but political formations that are destructive, they undermine the rule of law, burden the court system and for instance, encourage their supporters to invade unoccupied land and challenge the system with a threat of unrest, such as was seen in July 2021 when unrest broke out when Zuma was taken to prison. Publicly they will deny these actions but informally it is their mode of action.

The GNU is currently formed in the South African Winter of 2024 with a political system that is on thin ice, so to speak. Especially the political situation in KwaZuluNatal, our second most important economic import and export corridor, a provincial coalition similar to the national design was put together to keep the MKP and EFF from forming a government.

The GNU is unchartered waters for South Africa where the decision-making will slow down due to the internal ideological and policy differences, but there is a positive driver of the GNU as well and that is to urgently approach logistical and economic barriers (such s shortage of energy) to economic growth and employment in the country.

A stronger approach to the prevention of corruption and crime would also be added to the agenda of the GNU. Through interventions by the military and intelligence structures government hope to mitigate the situation in KZN will be the biggest threat to stability in South Africa.