Only a “Doomsday Scenario” can strengthen South Africa’s DA-ANC alliance

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(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance party may consider joining a coalition with the ruling African National Congress to prevent the country from being ruled by a majority of leftist parties after this year’s election.

Information Read from Bloomberg

A “doomsday scenario” where the ANC joins forces with the Economic Freedom Fighters or the Jacob Zuma-backed Mkhonto weSizwe party, or MKP, could force the desperate DA to change its stance against the ANC, the DA leader. John Steenhuisen he said in an interview Thursday.

Polls show the ANC will lose its majority for the first time since it came to power three decades ago in the May 29 vote. A result with no party gaining more than a 50% majority could force the ANC to find allies such as the EFF and MKP – which could be “terrible,” said Steenhuisen.

“I think there will be big flights from this country,” he said at the Bloomberg offices in Johannesburg. “I think there will be investment, and I think everyone who comes in will look for another market that’s coming up where they’re going to invest.”

Steenhuisen, 48, led the formation of a coalition of 11 opposition parties that aims to form a coalition government after the election. Members of the so-called Multi-Party Charter have refused to work with the ANC or the popular EFF – which is currently the third largest party – and polls show that both will struggle to get 40% support.

If the Multi-Party Coalition cannot get a majority, “we have to go back and see what we can do,” he said. The MPC is a “pre-election agreement” and not a collective agreement, Steenhuisen said, and because it is not legally binding, parties can opt out.

“In a place where you want the EFF and MK to not enter the government with the ANC, you can choose the worst option,” said Steenhuisen, although there may be more drastic measures.

The DA would not join forces with the ANC if the party was no longer led by President Cyril Ramaphosa – something Steenhuisen said could happen if the party had a bad election result.

The ANC’s plan to establish public health insurance, the proposed constitutional amendment to allow land expropriation without compensation, and corruption must all be resolved before the party can meet with the ANC for talks, he said. .

The election will be the DA’s first with Steenhuisen as leader, after ousting the party’s first black leader, Mmusi Maimane, in 2019. Several senior black leaders have left the party.

Although the municipalities he oversees are considered among the best-run municipalities in the country, their top leadership is white and he has struggled to gain support among the black majority.

When asked if South Africans would refuse to vote for a party where the majority of MPs are white, Steenhuisen said citizens want politicians who can tackle unemployment and lift people out of poverty.

“People in this election are not looking for the color of the cat — they are looking for who will catch the mouse,” he said. “You don’t have to be a poor Black South African to wake up every morning like I do and fight for a better life for those people.”

The DA was the second party in the last election in 2019, when it got 20.7% of the vote.

Steenhuisen said internal polls predicted the party could get anywhere between 25% and 30% of the vote in the May election. He stopped short of saying that he would give his chance if the party got fewer votes than it did in the last election.

“I think anything below 2019 I can see as a spectacular failure, and I don’t think my leadership will be sustainable,” he said.

Information Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

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