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“There is a coalition that has been forced to buy voters”

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By Kouthar Sambo

The world’s largest bank by market value, JPMorgan, has upgraded South African assets on optimism following the formation of a Government of National Unity (GNU). However, risks remain as cabinet positions are yet to be filled, and the efficacy of the GNU structure remains untested.

Speaking on VOC’s PM Drive on Wednesday, Development Economist at the University of Pretoria, Dr Jason Matsyoka, said the current context of the GNU should be considered.

“There has been a lot of public debate about the return to 1994, but I think it’s useful to make a distinction between the government of national unity of 1994 – which was not based on the outcome of elections – it was more political goodwill and to guide public discourse because the African National Congress (ANC) had the majority,” explained Matsyoka.

He continued to draw parallels between the GNU then and now.

“Now there is a coalition that has been forced to buy voters, which is unique for South Africa on a national level,” distinguished Matsyoka.

When dealing with microeconomic issues such as the Rand and exchange rate, detailed Matsyoka, you are then looking at sentiments.

“The trend suggests the coalition government is suddenly better than anything else – it is suddenly better than how the ANC has been performing. Now investors are looking to stablise this with shares due to the accountability structures,” reiterated Matsyoka.


Outcome of elections

“The current outcome of elections is the voter’s wishes as citizens air their perspectives on what needs to be done,” said Matsyoka.

According to Matsyoka, when evaluating totalitarian policies, which have been tested in other countries, experiments reveal they have not delivered growth or equality.

“I do not think the country should go in this direction, as I see the Democratic Alliance (DA) drifting to the right while the ANC has tried to be moderate so this is not an ideal situation because they are forced to compromise some of their harder positions.”

Matsyoka added it is more difficult to force the ultra-totalitarian parties to compromise on economic issues

“The appointment of the cabinet still has to take place and it is suddenly going to be a mixed bag, depending on the negotiations that are made by the DA, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and other parties in the GNU,” said Matsyoka.

“A stabilizing force is predicted representing a mixed nature of the cabinet itself as opposed to how it would have been if it was just the ANC government in totality.”


ANC-DA: Moving forward

Matsyoka further predicted a sense of stability and accountability moving forward, as well as compromising even economic aspects.

Regarding the ideological positions, since there is a difference in foreign policies and affirmative action, said Matsyoka, the coalition would have to go back to the Constitution and look at what is guaranteed from an economic point of view.

“Socioeconomic aspects of the Constitution would have to be relooked and work out the issues of poverty and equality, and you cannot deal with the issue of poverty in South Africa and avoid the question of racialised poverty,” stressed Matsyoka.

“The coalition must confront these questions guided by the constitution regardless of what their ideological positions are,” added Matsyoka.

*This is still a developing story

Photo: @ParliamentofRSA/X

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