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South African opposition leader warns of ‘doomsday’ ANC coalition with EFF/MK

THE leader of South Africa’s biggest opposition party urged voters to back his party in Wednesday’s election to avoid a “doomsday” scenario of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) forming a coalition with radical parties.

Political parties are holding rallies on the final weekend before the national and provincial elections on May 29, in which polls expect the ANC to lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since liberation icon Nelson Mandela was voted into power in 1994 at the end of apartheid.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said the election will go down in history as the most consequential day since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

Steenhuisen, whose party won the second-largest share of the vote in the last election, urged supporters to use their pens to close the ANC chapter and write a new one when they cast their vote.

“Unlike all other parties in this election, the DA doesn’t make promises about what we will do one day. We show you the evidence of what we are already doing today,” Steenhuisen told supporters gathered at a cricket stadium in Benoni, east of Johannesburg.

The pro-business DA runs the provincial government of Western Cape, home to the popular tourist city of Cape Town.

Steenhuisen said there would be a dire outcome if the election resulted in a coalition between the ANC, the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters and the new uMkhonto WeSizwe, aligned with former president Jacob Zuma.

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“The NHI (National Health Insurance Bill) will be implemented, property will be expropriated without compensation, corruption will engulf us, and the economy will collapse,” he said.

“It will be Doomsday for South Africa.”

The NHI Bill, signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa this month, aims to provide free universal health coverage but faces legal challenges from different stakeholders including the DA.

The ANC has not disclosed its thinking on any non-majority scenario.

The DA has formed a pact with some smaller parties to try to capture the more than 50% of the vote needed to form a government, including the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party and ActionSA, a party led by a former mayor of Johannesburg, the country’s economic hub.

One of the reasons for falling ANC support is voters switching to other parties, like Magdelena Pila, a former ANC supporter who has been supporting the DA for 10 years.

“I support the DA because I’ve been tired of… promises of the government of South Africa… Just promises… (and) nothing… I think DA will be maybe better,” the 74-year-old told Reuters at the rally.

By TANNUR ANDERS and BHARGAV ACHARYA

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