/ 4 June 2024

Ntshavheni: ANC must lead any coalition government

Khumbudzo Ntshavhen
Minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. (Jairus Mmutle/GCIS)

As the ANC continues its discussions on who to form a coalition with nationally, national executive committee member (NEC) Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says it should be allowed to lead any new government because of its majority.

Ntshavheni was speaking on the sidelines of the declaration of 2024 election results by the Electoral Commission of South Africa on Sunday.

“The ANC has the largest votes and the ANC is the party with the largest votes mandated by over 6 million South Africans. The ANC has a responsibility to lead this country,” she said.

The party’s national working committee is expected to meet on Tuesday, while the NEC is expected to meet later in the week. The top item on the agenda at the NEC meeting will be a discussion on who the party would form a coalition with nationally.

Sources this week told the Mail & Guardian that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his closest allies within the ANC believed that the only route to stability was through a working arrangement with the Democratic Alliance (DA).

However, there is a rebellion within the governing party over the president’s choice to go with the DA instead of the Economic Freedom Fighters or the uMkhonto weSizwe party.

Ntshavheni said the ANC would meet to reflect on the election, discuss a way forward and look at how the party would rebuild itself from the electoral outcome.

“We have the 2026 local government elections that are coming up and [we have to discuss] how do we prepare ourselves to bounce back across the number of municipalities that we are not leading,” she said.

There are those in the ANC who believe that the top seven officials of the party should be recalled over its failure to secure an outright majority for the first time in its 30 year rule. 

But, on Sunday, Ntshavheni refused to be drawn into whether she believed the top seven should bear the consequences of the failure.

“I’m part of the NEC. If the leadership has to be removed, it means I must be removed,” she said.

ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula said at the weekend that Ramaphosa and the rest of the top seven would not step down over the poor showing at the polls.

Mbalula also said no one would be able to constitute a government without talking to the ANC, adding that the party would not be bullied in coalition talks but would engage sensibly in the best interests of democracy, the people of South Africa and a stable government.

“This is not an arrogant statement but it is to say that the 6 million people who have voted for us, want us to continue to lead,” he said. “They still want us to be in government and that we must respect. They didn’t want us to be totally out of government, otherwise we would have been politically obliterated.”

He said coalitions in the country have not been easy but the party had a framework for it.

“Amongst others, we say that, where a party has won, they must lead in terms of forming government but, when that falls off, we don’t have a choice — we will work with anyone who wants to work with us.”

Mbalula said since the ANC had not won outright, it would talk to every willing political party to see which would be its best coalition partners.