Government of National Unity

Government of National Unity: A NEW WAY OF DOING BUSINESS

Our eagerly anticipated elections in South Africa are now history.

There is no doubt it was a watershed election.

New things are on the horizon.

The Outcome

In a nutshell – our future will be different.

There is, of course, a fair amount of uncertainty how the future will pan out for the people.

Everyone is asking themselves: What is a Government of National Unity?

So, what is different?

  1. We do not have a government any more that is dominated by the wishes of one majority party.
  2. We now have in place a coalition between the ANC, the DA and the IFP as the main grouping who have elected Cyril Ramaphosa as the president.
  3. The newcomer MK party is the third strongest party in terms of number of seats in the National Assembly.

How will it work?

This is the question in everyone’s mind.

The politicians themselves are in the process of finding out.

What there is unity about is:

  1. The government role is to meet people’s needs. The following services have to be provided:

Clean water for every household

Affordable transport systems

Affordable power supply (electricity)

Quality primary, secondary and tertiary education

An effective health system, giving access to affordable health care for all South Africans

Establishment of an inclusive economic system that provides sufficient work opportunities

Regulation applied by the government is to prevent exploitation, both of individuals, groups, as well as the environment

  • Race is not a legitimate criterion determining allocation of the country’s resources.
  • The revenue obtained from taxes is to be utilized to provide the above services equitably to all people

It is not clear how the smaller groupings who did not join the main coalition will become part of the process.

I have my doubts whether parties like the EFF and the MKP, who often oppose major initiatives seemingly for the sole purpose of attracting attention, will add much value. But if they engage in constructive questioning – this is always beneficial because it promotes clarity of thought and purpose.

New priorities

With the new distribution of percentage voter support it will be futile for individual political parties to spend their energies on trying to consolidate their party’s position.

They will only enhance their reputation when they demonstrate that they can collaborate with others to get initiatives passed that will benefit the country. This is the essence of the concept of national unity.

So, our first priority will be to seek to advance initiatives that benefit all.

To make it work, the leaders will have to put aside their own aspirations and focus on the goal. There has to be a mindset shift from seeking personal advancement, to what is best for our people – in other words, a servant-type leadership.

The way our leaders engage in debates will no doubt move from a confrontational, and negative criticism stance, to one of focusing on the possibilities. The emphasis will be how can we remove the obstacles, and make it work, rather than this is an absurd idea and has no merit. The leaders have to accept each other as equals and engage in a common cause, rather than as opponents in a game of winner takes all.

Hope for the future

The indications are that some of the principles that have been mentioned above have already taken root. The elected MPs and their respective groupings did amazing work within the space of 10 days between the announcement of the election results, and the sitting of the first national assembly when they had to make a decision on which coalition they would join, and how they were going to interact in the future.

It is satisfying to see that the challenge by the MK party to declare the election result invalid was unsuccessful.

For me it was highly encouraging to see that parliament was again opened with prayer, indicating that in order for us as a nation to move forward, we need the wisdom of the Almighty.

For my part, I will continue to pray for our leaders that their deliberations and actions may be those of people who do their work out of a sense of calling. God bless South Africa.

Wolfgang Bernhardt is an engineer by profession. His passion is empowering professionals to achieve outstanding project execution.

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