GNU flashpoint – the Trade & Industry smoking gun

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Issued from the Democratic Alliance Office of the Leader

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for your hospitality and for the constructive meeting that we were able to have today as leaders of our respective parties. I believe that we are close to a historic deal to form a Cabinet and government that will work in the interests of all South Africans. This will enable us to get South Africa onto a new trajectory of growth, hope and opportunity.

I was grateful for your explanation on how appointment procedures operate within government at senior official level. I was also encouraged that we could find agreement on how to prevent deadlocks between the seven parties at a Cabinet level by utilising the mechanisms of consensus, as defined in the Statement of Intent our parties have both signed. We look forward to further engagement on these aspects once the cabinet has been formed.

I would further like to thank you for placing the offer on the table of the following cabinet portfolios:

  • Home Affairs
  • Basic Education
  • Trade, Industry and Competition Public Works and Infrastructure
  • Communications and Digital Technologies
  • Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

As well as the following Deputy Ministries:

  • Finance (with full cabinet committee rights)
  • Energy and Electricity
  • Small Business Development
  • One other (to replace DTIC)

As agreed, I have taken this offer back to my party for deliberation and discussion, and wish to share the feedback.

In terms of the quantum of portfolios, there remains concern within our structures that the DA is sacrificing from our proportional allocation more than the ANC. On a pure proportional basis, out of a Cabinet of 30, the DA’s share of support within the GNU translates to nine positions rather than the six that are currently on the table. Similarly, we cannot see the rationale for reducing the number of DA Deputy Ministries to only four. Logic would dictate that this quantum would be the same, or close to, the number of Cabinet portfolios.

Overall, it is difficult to see how reducing our quantum in this way gives expression to clause 16 of the Statement of Intent, as it is neither reflective of the electoral outcomes nor the national interest. It is going to be extremely difficult for me to get my party to accept a third of the ANC’s allocation when we won more than half the number of votes of the ANC.

However, in terms of the quality of the portfolios listed above – both in Cabinet and in terms of Deputy Ministries – the DA is satisfied and regards these as a serious offer.

In order to therefore clear the final hurdle, I would like to propose the following two steps:

  • That, in addition to the six existing Cabinet portfolios which we accept, another two portfolios be allocated to the DA out of the options of Sports, Arts and Culture, Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform or Public Service and Administration (we would accept the need for public sector wage negotiations to be moved from this portfolio to the Minister of Finance). I am proposing these three options as alternatives to a Minister in the Presidency, Transport and International Relations, as I accept your rationale for assigning these to the ANC. Assigning two of these portfolios to the DA would take our quantum in Cabinet from six to eight, which would satisfy clause 16 by better reflecting the will of the people as expressed in the electoral outcome, while also taking into account the national interest.
  • That the quantum of Deputy Ministers from the DA be similarly increased.

It is reassuring that we are now close to making the GNU a reality and I am grateful for your support in these negotiations. I will await your considered feedback on the two proposed solutions to get us over the line.

Yours faithfully,

John Steenhuisen

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