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    'New normal': A white-led party will rule alongside the ANC in South Africa

    John Steenhuisen, leader of the Democratic Alliance, said “we have embarked on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power.” No. 39; Photo: Nick Bothma/REUTERS

    The African National Congress (ANC) and its biggest rival, the white-led, pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA), have agreed to work together in a new government of national unity for South Africa in a step forward from 30 years of ANC majority rule.

    Cyril Ramaphosa, the 71-year-old leader of the ANC, belatedly struck a dramatic coalition deal just hours before lawmakers vote on whether to seek re-election and remain president.

    Once unthinkable, the agreement between the two antagonistic parties is the most significant political shift in South Africa since Nelson Mandela led the ANC to victory in the 1994 elections that marked the end of apartheid.

    “Today South Africa Africa is a better country than it was yesterday. For the first time since 1994, we have begun a peaceful and democratic transfer of power to a new government that will be different from the previous one,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said in a televised address.

    From today, the DA will jointly govern South Africa in a spirit of unity and cooperation,” he said, adding that multi-party government is the “new normal.”

    The ANC lost its majority for the first time in the May 29 elections and spent two weeks in negotiations with other parties, which reached a deadlock on Friday.

    During the marathon parliamentary session, the ANC signed a last-minute deal with the DA, effectively guaranteeing Mr Ramaphosa would remain leader. The parties will now jointly govern South Africa in its first national coalition, where no one party has a majority in Parliament.

    Mr Ramaphosa called the deal “a new birth, a new era for our country” and said about it. It's time for the parties to “overcome their differences and work together.”

    “That's what we have to do, and that's what I strive to achieve as president,” he said.

    A DA source said that under the agreement, the party will receive the post of Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

    Fikile Mbalula, ANC Secretary General said South African politics had made a “remarkable step”; Photo: Xinhua/Shutterstock

    “Today is a wonderful step after the events of May 29,” said Fikile Mbalula, ANC secretary-general, adding that parties in the unity government would cooperate in both areas. executive and legislative branches of government.

    The ANC, long considered invincible in national elections, has lost support in recent years as voters grow tired of high levels of poverty, inequality and crime, power cuts and corruption within the party.

    The DA's entry into national government is a significant moment for a country still reeling from the legacy of racist colonial and apartheid regimes.

    The party wants to scrap some of the ANC's black empowerment programs, saying they have not worked. It says good governance and a strong economy will benefit all South Africans.

    The party rejects accusations from opponents such as the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that it represents interests privileged white minority.

    Some voters, including ANC supporters, also see it that way, while others take a more positive view of racial dynamics.

    “The ANC has also failed. They need a partner so they can rise again. The DA is mostly made up of white people, so if they get together we can have more power and maybe things can be changed, even jobs can be created,” said Bongani Msibi, 38, a street vendor in Soweto.< /p>

    Helen Zille, a senior DA official, said Mr Steenhuisen's skin color was irrelevant.

    “The DA leader's melanin quotient is the least significant aspect of this historic settlement,” she said in a post on X , Twitter previously criticized some media headlines.

    The EFF, which came fourth in the election, said it would be willing to work with the ANC but not with the DA, which it called “an instrument of imperialism and white monopoly capital.”

    Two smaller parties, the social conservative The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Right-wing Patriotic Alliance will also take part in a unity government, they said.

    The National Assembly was elected at the meeting in Cape Town. The speaker was Thoko Didiza from the ANC. At the same time, the deputy speaker and head of state were to be elected.

    Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, is sworn in as Member of Parliament. Source: Jerome Delay/AP

    The ANC won 159 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, while the DA won 87. The populist party uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) led by former president Jacob Zuma won 58 seats, the EFF 39, and IFP – 17

    The inclusion of the IFP with its Zulu ethnic base could help sweeten the DA pill for ANC voters. The Patriot Alliance enjoys mixed-race support.

    The News24 website published details of the draft statement of intent, which it said was sent to party negotiators by the ANC's Mbalula. Reuters reviewed the document but could not confirm its authenticity.

    Among the document's “basic minimum program of priorities” were rapid, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, promoting fixed investment and industrialization, creating work places. creation, land reform, infrastructure development, structural reforms and financial sustainability.

    Capital Economics, a London-based research firm, said the prospect of a coalition involving the ANC and DA was well received by investors because it was expected there will be continuity of policy or acceleration of reforms, and also because the EFF and MK will be excluded from the decision-making process.

    Mr Zuma's MP came third in the election but said he was robbed of victory because falsification of voting results. and boycotts the new parliament.

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