Elections 2024: Is KZN, Gauteng and South Africa headed for a ANC, DA and IFP grand coalition?

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and DA leader John Steenhuisen. Analysts are suggesting a grand coalition of the ANC, DA and IFP could govern in KZN, Gauteng and South Africa. Pictures: Timothy Bernard, Oupa Mokoena, Timothy Berndard/Independent Media

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and DA leader John Steenhuisen. Analysts are suggesting a grand coalition of the ANC, DA and IFP could govern in KZN, Gauteng and South Africa. Pictures: Timothy Bernard, Oupa Mokoena, Timothy Berndard/Independent Media

Published May 31, 2024


A grand coalition between the ANC, DA and the IFP could emerge out of the May 29 elections, potentially relegating former president Jacob Zuma’s MK party to opposition benches in KwaZulu-Natal despite having the lion’s share of the votes.

The mood at the IEC National Results Operations Centre was abuzz on Friday as political parties were starting to come to terms with what may become reality when the count is done.

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille was seen in casual conversation with ANC first deputy secretary general Nomvula Monkonyane and chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

The leaders of the Multi Party Charter (MPC) are also expected to meet on Friday afternoon to discuss the way forward - whether they move along as a bloc or negotiate individually.

A beaming John Steenhuisen, thrilled by the DA’s results, said there was no proposed meeting with the ANC set for the weekend, although Zille said they would be willing to listen to the current governing party.

How the picture looks

The ANC is set to finish well below 50% nationally, with the CSIR elections projection model touting a 40-42% poll result at best, while the DA is set to finish at about 20% and the MK expected to finish at around 14%.

The DA Federal Executive was expected to meet this weekend to discuss their coalition plans, as their Multi Party Charter partners failed to make an impact, while top ANC leaders were also plotting a possible grand coalition with the official opposition.

On Friday morning at the National Results Operations Centre, a beaming John Steenhuisen said he was “feeling good” and confident about their election results, retaining the Western Cape and taking back some ground lost to the PA and the FF+. He denied any contact with the ANC.

KZN, Gauteng and SA gone?

The ANC is set to fall well below 50% in the Gauteng and KZN provinces, necessitating possible coalition partners to govern in both provinces and the national government.

Zille said the MPC meeting would discuss “what we do with this result, it is unprecedented”.

“The ANC has lost its majority by a very wide margin and it will never again get its majority back. That has been a watershed moment in the history of every African democracy, with the liberation was very strong for 30 years, they crashed and they never came back and that is what we are going to see in South Africa.

“The ANC will continue to unravel and the DA had better move in the direction of saving this country. Our job is to rescue South Africa and we are well on the way to doing it,” she said.

Zille said there was no meeting on the cards with the ANC, but they were looking and assessing “all of the options”.

”(We will) decide which one is the least bad for South Africa and move into the direction of trying to prevent a doomsday coalition, which is going to happen in KZN.

“If it happens in the country we all need to pack up our bags and go home,” said Zille.

Asked about a DA-ANC grand coalition at national, she said it was “one of many options”.

”When a party falls below 50%, there are many options. One of the options is to put a minority government in place and have a confidence and supply model,” she said, explaining that in such an arrangement the DA could remain in the opposition benches, but they take over all the legislative oversight roles in Parliament.

Zille said this was not a proposal from the DA, but it was “what the options are”.

IFP receptive

The IFP chief whip Narend Singh said they were disappointed with their KZN performance despite looking likely to gain more seats in the legislature and in Parliament.

Asked about any possible lobbying, he said they were “hearing whispers”, but there were no formal approaches, yet.

Singh said they were expecting the MK to approach them about KZN, but they would consult within the MPC first.

“The MPC are meeting later this afternoon (Friday) to figure out how the MPC should move, as a bloc or as individual parties, we will know closer to the end of the day, we need to sort that out first before we move forward,” he said.

About a grand coalition of the ANC, DA and IFP, Singh said: “To a large degree it will depend on the DA because they are considered to be the official opposition”.

Singh said they would like to see the state power not being centralized with the governing party. He said their spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa was the only MP from the opposition benches who was a chairperson of a portfolio in parliament and they would want more of that and other ambassadorial positions to be shared with the opposition.

Political commentators weigh in

Political Analyst Lukhona Mnguni said the possibility of an ANC, DA and IFP coalition was “much more of a possibility than before the elections”.

He said such a coalition would resolve the question in KZN, Gauteng and at national.

”My view is that while the focus is on the national, before you think about the national coalition, you need to think about the provincial coalitions. Two provinces which are the economic heartbeat of South Africa’s economy, KZN and Gauteng.

“You need to make sense of a coalition that could potentially stabilise those provinces too given that the ANC and the DA don’t look likely to form a government without the IFP.

“The grand coalition that has to be considered has the IFP as its ingredient. The IFP could help to be a politically diluting force for both the ANC and the DA given that the IFP is already on the MPC,” said Mnguni.

Mnguni said the IFP could potentially sanitize the coalition as both DA and ANC constituents would have sections in it who would be fiercely against it.

“For the DA and the ANC it becomes very difficult to explain to their constituents, it might make sense to us as analysts and people looking for stability, but there are members of the DA who would never want to work with the ANC, and vice versa.

“The IFP could help sanitize to say these are parties coming together for the stability of South Africa,” said Mnguni.

Could KZN MK end up in opposition benches?

If the ANC, DA and IFP had enough votes to form a government in KZN, this could effectively relegate the MK to the opposition benches despite getting the lion’s share of the results in the province.

”What we must start thinking about is how will the MK party respond to being locked out of power because they are very clear, they want the power and they will feel they are the largest bloc,” he said.

Another political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said the chickens had come home to roost for the ANC for believing its own lies of invincibility and that President Cyril Ramaphosa was more popular than the ANC.

Seepe said it was likely the ANC would work with the DA as the veterans, who he said were beneficiaries of “white capital”.

He said an ANC-DA coalition would see the DA take the driving seat on policy.

He said the possibilities of an ANC-EFF coalition were unlikely as the EFF would not want to work with Ramaphosa.

“The DA will be the centre of gravity of the coalition, the DA doesn’t even have to come up with demands. It will expect some of its senior members are deployed in government.

”Zille can even demand Steenhuisen be considered as the deputy president because right now Ramaphosa has little room to manoeuvre, all he has to do now is submit to the DA, whatever the DA wants, the DA will get,” said Seepe.