The DA sets out principles for GNU participation



DA leader John Steenhuisen at the IEC results centre in Midrand during the 2024 elections. (Alfonso Nqunjana/News24)

DA leader John Steenhuisen at the IEC results centre in Midrand during the 2024 elections. (Alfonso Nqunjana/News24)

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has set out six principles for participation in a government of national unity or power-sharing agreement, with 10 days left to form a government. The DA has framed these principles in the Constitution and set out key areas it will seek to protect: the Preamble (the Constitution as the supreme law), the Bill of Rights, and the independence of the Reserve Bank.

The DA stands for an open society, underpinned by the Constitution, in which every person's rights are respected and in which security and prosperity are enjoyed by all. The party says that the protection and promotion of the Constitution is foundational to the future success of South Africa, and the Bill of Rights should be protected in their entirety. This is important because MK's manifesto says it will scrap the Constitution and re-introduce an apartheid-style system of parliamentary sovereignty.

The DA also specifically says the clauses enshrining the South African Reserve Bank's (Sarb) independence and committing South Africa to sound monetary policy must be protected. The EFF, MK, and a faction of the ANC want the Sarb nationalised, as it has a small number of private shareholders who have no authority over monetary policy.

The DA also wants devolved powers for metro policing and metropolitan passenger rail, which are essential to the running of Cape Town and are long-standing lobbies for the party. To protect reforms in energy, logistics, water supply, and skills, the party fully supports Operation Vulindlela, the quiet but effective reform programme of the Presidency. Key Vulindlela reforms include the unbundling of Eskom, ports concessions, the water regulator, skilled visa program, title deeds to expand home ownership, mineral rights reforms, and rapid expansion of digital spectrum availability.

The DA statement of principles highlights areas of commonality with the ANC in a week where divisions between the two have dominated the mainstream narrative. Deadlock-breaking mechanisms will be critical to any successful government of national unity, and early support for the independence of the SA Reserve Bank is essential as it is the constitutional protection most at risk if the EFF, MK, and ANC faction put it into play in negotiations.

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