/ 14 August 2023

‘The DA will be a tactical ally’ – ANCYL secretary general

Mntuwoxolo Ngudle

The ANC Youth League has added its voice to the growing debate about its mother body forming a coalition with the Democratic Alliance (DA), with its secretary general saying that the ruling party should consider a coalition based on material conditions.  

Mntuwoxolo Ngudle told the Mail & Guardian the youth league would not be opposed to the ANC forming a coalition with the DA. 

“Based on the material conditions of that particular locality, or city or a district, tactically, the DA will be a tactical ally,” he said, noting that the ANC had strategic allies in the South African Communist Party and labour union federation Cosatu. 

Talks of an ANC-DA coalition has been cause for concern for opposition parties wishing to join the official opposition party in its moonshot pact to unseat the ANC. 

On Sunday, the M&G reported that the DA was under pressure from its political partners to publicly declare that it will not form any coalition with the ANC after the 2024 general elections. 

Should the DA not comply with its coalition partners’ demands, its plan for a moonshot pact to unseat the ANC and ensure that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) remains out of power would be in jeopardy. 

The DA’s allies have suspected for some time that their party is in discussions with the ANC for a grand coalition come the 2024 elections. 

The M&G understands that the political parties already in coalition with the official opposition party raised this during a meeting with the DA this past week. 

Insiders said the meeting was “heated”, with ActionSA in particular calling for transparency from the blue party.

The ANC and the DA’s leadership have previously hinted at a possibility of coalition. 

In a previous interview with the M&G, City of Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis — one of the blue party’s most recognised leaders — rubber-stamped DA leader John Steenhuisen’s perspective on the ANC, saying it would be “very silly” for the DA not to consider a coalition with the ruling party.

Ngudle said: “We don’t [express] that strategic objective with the DA nor with the EFF, you know. So those are tactical allies. We can even form a government with Freedom Front Plus, so long as we will be in majority in terms of determining the direction of development and social change.” 

He said his party’s relationship with the EFF should be looked at as a tactical alliance for the ANC to form governments and deliver services in Gauteng metros.

“Our core convictions and mandate is to ensure that South Africans have a better life. And if we get that particular opportunity … because of the slight, slight assistance of the EFF, let’s do that. We can’t allow our people to be subjected to what they were subjected to  under the DA,” he said.

“You can see the DA pushes black and poor people into the periphery. You see those strikes in the Western Cape, hence, you see under development of black and coloured communities in the Western Cape. There is no investment at all, but in Camps Bay there is massive investment. So the DA can never govern our people, particularly in Gauteng. They should know, under the DA, you can see that there is no care for the black African communities at all.”

The DA has always rejected accusations that it largely aims to further the interests of white people, who form the bulk of its support.

The ANC’s young lions believe the party will need its hard hitters, including former president Jacob Zuma, in KwaZulu-Natal to ensure a decisive victory in the 2024 elections. Ngudle said it must be “all hands on deck” for the elections.

In what some analysts said was a decision made with next year’s vote in mind, Zuma last week escaped time in prison thanks to President Cyril Ramaphosa remitting his 15-month sentence for contempt of court related to the state capture inquiry. 

The remission was granted to cut short the sentences of 9 488 prisoners serving sentences of less than two years for non-violent crimes, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said on Friday.

Ngudle said the youth league welcomed the remission granted to Zuma, adding that it did not wish for any older person to be in prison for a low risk crime.

“If it were murder or something like that then it would be something that would not be remorseful about, but we think that we’re very happy. We think that the former president  deserves to rest,” he said.

“I mean, he’s one of the few that have dedicated their lives, for the liberation of this country, in a very true sense. I don’t believe he has in any way, even during exile times and during the democratic era, been a sell out in terms of the struggles of our people. There are any errors that any person would commit, you know, but we’re very happy about his release.”

The ANC faces a possible decline in support in next year’s election, with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) staging a comeback in KwaZulu-Natal in 2021 and taking control of several wards in by-elections since.

The ANC’s national working committee (NWC) had previously flirted with disbanding its KwaZulu-Natal leadership after reports of governance issues and political turmoil. 

After talks with the provincial leadership, the NWC, which is tasked with the day-to-day administration of the party, decided instead that the province will need national intervention if it wants to weather the storm of DA-IFP coalitions, as well as the 2024 elections.

Ngudle said senior leaders from the province, including Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Zweli Mkhize and Senzo Mchunu, are needed as reinforcements. 

“KZN, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo are conservative provinces, with particular values and traditions that respect the elders, so their voices will matter. I think reinforcement is needed in all these provinces by senior leaders of the movement so that we can be able to talk to the voters and real South Africans to tell them that it’s not yet uhuru, our revolution has not succeeded,” Ngudle said. 

Zuma has been at odds with Ramaphosa, charging him as an accessory to the alleged leaking of medical information to the media by Billy Downer, the state prosecutor in his arms deal corruption trial,

His complaint against Ramaphosa was that the latter failed to hold an inquiry into Downer’s conduct, thereby, according to Zuma, rendering himself an accessory after the fact, or alternatively guilty of defeating the ends of justice.

Ramaphosa countered that he referred the complaint toLamola and advised him to refer the matter to the Legal Practice Council, noting that he had neither the power nor any intention to interfere with the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority.