GNU must be Premised on Constitutionalism and Good Governance

TEASA joins civil society organisations to demand that the Government of National Unity (GNU) commit itself to truly meeting the needs of South Africa’s citizens.

The Statement

GNU must be premised on constitutionalism and good governance

We, the undersigned organisations, welcome the proposal for a Government of National Unity (GNU) committed to our Constitution, its values and the rule of law.

Our support for a GNU however, is conditional. It must serve the interests of the people of South Africa and prioritise their political, economic and social wellbeing. Our crises are multiple: the rationale for a GNU is that it can, at this moment, direct considered and coordinated efforts at reducing the horrifying levels of poverty, unemployment, crime and inequality in South Africa.

It must tackle the energy and water crises that everyday blight the lives of this country’s people. The right to access quality education, healthcare, and basic services cannot just remain locked in our Constitution’s pages, but must be brought to life.

A GNU will also need to root out corruption and state capture, prioritise the implementation of the Zondo Commission recommendations, and rebuild public trust in state institutions. Furthermore, a reduced cabinet will be a welcome sign of a government focussed on delivery and not on patronage.

Any coalition formation – including that of a GNU, as well as provincial coalitions – must be based on transparent agreements which allow for greater scrutiny, public oversight and accountability, as well as consequence management for compliance failures.

It cannot follow the course of coalition governments in the big metros which have failed to serve the interests of the public, and where political parties have in some instances run departments under their ambit as if these were their personal fiefdoms. The foundation of a GNU must be based on a collective vision to take the country forward, a joint strategy of how this is to be accomplished and a shared sense of responsibility.

We are encouraged by political parties who have expressed interest in joining a GNU, and have indicated a willingness to negotiate and compromise on certain policies and ideological standpoints in service of the people of this country. We also respect the decision of political parties who choose to remain in opposition benches.

We cautiously welcome the idea of a “national dialogue”. Further details about its terms of reference need to be formulated, and it should be truly representative of various sectors of society. A national dialogue cannot merely be a ‘tick-box exercise’ in public engagement.

While political parties will now make choices that will impact the future trajectory of the country, the period ahead also calls on civil society organisations to mobilise the public into being active participants in democracy. We do need to reverse trends which are beginning to perhaps indicate an erosion in democratic participation, such as low voter turnout. Furthermore, beyond voting, we now need to strengthen accountability work at every level.

Endorsed by:

ACTIVATE Change Drivers
Active Citizens Movement
Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute NPC
Business Unity SA
Centre for Good Governance and Social Justice NPC
Congress of Business and Economics
Corruption Watch
Defend our Democracy
Democracy Development Program
Direct Democracy South Africa
Equal Education
Freedom Under Law
Inclusive Society Institute
Institute for Security Studies
ISIZIBA Community Based Organizations of South Africa
Koppies Stakeholders Forum
Legal Resources Centre
Lenz Politics
Mfidikwe Bokamoso Community Development Forum (MBCDF)
MSA Union (Muslim Students’ Association Union)
Msunduzi Association of Residents, Ratepayers and Civics
Open Secrets
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse
People’s Keep Fit Club
Progressive Tamil Movement
Public Interest SA
Shito-ryu Karatedo Institute
Siva Gnana Sabay
South Africa First Forum
South African Conversations
Teddy Bear Foundation for Abused Children
The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa
The Whistleblower House
Tlou Cholo Foundation
Westside Park Community Crisis Committee
YMCA South Africa

Issued by Defend our Democracy

For media enquiries, contact:
Defend our Democracy
Communications Officer
Andries Sibanyoni
071 037 6138

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