South Africa’s Ramaphosa, DA Leader Near Deal on Cabinet Posts

(Bloomberg) -- The heads of South Africa’s two main political parties are nearing an agreement over how positions in the executive will be shared, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa, the head of the African National Congress, and Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen met on Friday to resolve an impasse over the formation of the cabinet, said the people who asked not to be identified as the discussions were private.

Discussions are ongoing and a final decision has yet to be made, they said. An announcement on the new executive may be made in the coming days, two of the people said.

The two leaders are in discussions on the positions that will be shared, the people said.

“The last negotiations are still wrapping up,” DA spokesman Richard Newton said by phone. He declined to comment further. Calls to ANC spokeswoman Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri’s mobile phone didn’t connect.

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Any agreement on forming a cabinet will be welcomed by investors who anticipate the combination of the ANC under Ramaphosa and the centrist DA will lead to an acceleration of economic reforms needed to address the nation’s energy crisis, fix its collapsing ports and railways, and reduce crime and corruption.

Ramaphosa and Steenhuisen may face push-back to their agreement from some members of the decision-making bodies of both parties, who’ve yet to be consulted on the deal, the people said.

The agreement comes after ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said earlier on Friday that a deal on the next government is “almost done,” signaling that a dispute over cabinet posts had been resolved.

The rand rallied 1.6% on Friday — its biggest gain this year — on optimism that a deal was close.

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--With assistance from Paul Vecchiatto and Amogelang Mbatha.

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