Washington buzzing in hope of SA coalition government

Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister Dr Dion George says South Africa is already being punished with “silent sanctions” for the pro-Russia stance of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Dr George – who was part of a recent DA delegation that engaged with “players” in the US State Department, the Senate and the House – tells BizNews that DA officials implored Washington to renew its special trade agreement (AGOA) with South Africa in 2025 – despite its unhappiness with the ANC alignment with Russia. He provides a list a solutions to protect the economy from disastrous consequences – and also assures South Africa that it is not all “doom and gloom” – and that there is still time to turn the economy around. – Chris Steyn

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There is great anticipation in Washington that South Africa will be ruled by a coalition government after next years’s National Elections.

This has emerged from a BizNews interview with DA Shadow Minister Dr Dion George.

Dr George was part of a DA delegation that engaged with “players” in the US State Department, the Senate and the House – and received a “warm and welcoming” reception from everybody.

Read more: Paranoid Putin is packing for Pretoria, but Russia has little to offer South Africa

“We have never been more popular… for the simple reason that there is a great expectation that something is going to happen next year; that South Africa is going to have a coalition government for example; that the ANC will fall below 50 (per cent)…So there’s this massive anticipation…

…the ANC (African National Congress) is no longer the ANC that they (the Americans) do remember from (former President) Nelson Mandela…when it was the paragon of virtue; it was really in the forefront of human rights…they’ve drifted so far away that now the ANC has gone rogue: we’ve had the State Capture; we’ve had the wrong alignment  (with Russia)…”

Dr George says the DA officials implored Washington to renew its special trade agreement with South Africa – despite its unhappiness with South Africa’s alignment with Russia.

“…that is causing a great amount of unhappiness amongst our Western allies, obviously, specifically the United States, because the situation in Ukraine is causing a global catastrophe. So with South Africa fraternising with Russia…that has not found favour with Congress in the United States. Now, they are the people who will decide whether to renew AGOA, which is the special trade agreement that we have with the US. 

It’s not reciprocal. It gives enormous benefits to South Africa and the region. And the US Congress is basically asking itself the question as well, when it comes up for renewal in 2025, ‘why on earth should we continue giving a special deal to South Africa when it’s behaving in this way?”

Read more: Do not give up on the coalition project – Political analyst, Nicholas Woode-Smith

However, “…we (the DA) were saying, ‘look, if you take AGOA away, it’s like sanctions. And then what happens is government actually don’t suffer because they’ll sort themselves out. It’s the ordinary South Africans that are already battling to put food on their table that will suffer. So just remember what your target is in fact. So if you want to hurt the government, don’t do it that way. Do it another way’.”

The other “very clear” message the DA delivered was that “we will do everything possible to get as much as we can at the ballot box so that we can come to a negotiation with as much as possible on the table because it’s the will of the people. The people vote and their voice must be heard. So if the DA gets a nice big pile of chips, we then have got a much stronger hand to negotiate a coalition”.

Meanwhile, says Dr George, the South African economy is already being punished for the ANC’s pro-Russia stance. “…what you call silent sanctions… have started happening…institutions and investors abroad are now thinking about South Africa and wondering whether they want to invest in a country that firstly our economic fundamentals are so weak that whether you’re going to get a return or not is already of concern. But then when you’re actively behaving in an unacceptable way, then business and investors start saying, ‘well, maybe I’d rather go to another jurisdiction, another developing economy where I don’t have that problem. I don’t have the moral problem of it supporting a country that’s at war in Europe, that caused the war and is killing a significant amount of people. We don’t want blood on our hands’. And so South Africa, by its association, is thrown into that pot.”

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