"We take the best from the West and the best from the East, but we retain our unique identity." - Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe

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The Golden Coalition

Philip Copeman

We have spent the first thirty years of our democracy mired in confrontation. Why not turn the page and try cooperation?

The most amazing opportunity arises if MK, the DA and the EFF can talk to each other.

Lets talk about jobs.

The fastest way to create jobs is to put the ANC into opposition and end cadre deployment. The DA, EFF and MK should all be to able agree with that. Is there anything more job creating than ending corruption? With the savings generated by that exercise we could do so much more :

scrap student debt this month!(EFF)

Fix our desperate crime rate (MK).

RET can begin in KZN on 1 July (MK)

The DA can kickstart the economy.

We cut the cabinet down to 15 portfolios and 15 deputies.

The ANC would make wonderful opposition because they would stop any new executives from using loopholes they already know. The release of thousands of high earners back onto the open job market, would be a massive stimulus because they would start new businesses.

It is easier to make a deal that is good for South Africa with the EFF, DA and MK than it is to make one with the ANC. The burden of patronage that the ANC carry with them to the table is unbearable! Even they will be relieved. Released from the burden of executive office with talent for success, and a need for income, fridays cadres are monday's employers!

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SA coalition Politics and The Nash Equilibrium

Three guys are at a bar looking to get laid. In walks a blond and a friend. All the guys go for the blond. She gets frustrated and leaves. They then all go for the other girl. Nobody wants to be second choice so she also leaves. Nobody gets laid.

If noone had goes for the blond, we let her choose, and we let the girls decide who is up for a threesome, then every one gets laid. It could turn out to be the best evening of their lives.

It is called a Nash Equilibrium, and it won NASH the Nobel prize in Economics. In any negotiation, the tendency is for all parties to go for what they want. The best solution lies with everyone going for less than they want, but still the best they can get!

Now lets consider the situation facing the South African political leaders. The ANC won 40% of the vote and is the blond in this equation. The next three are the DA 22%, MK with 15%, EFF 10% There are greedy reasons to be a Junior partner with the ANC. But mostly the prize appears to be only two parties and a lot simpler to negotiate. This presumption is false. We all want the blonde.

The ANC is built on patronage, they are already carving up the loot. They just have to cut it another 25% and there should be a deal. Eye now there’s the rub. The ANC has become so heavy that it was not even able to buy the last election. Add another 25% to the bill and it is likely that an ANC coalition might not even make the first payroll! Whoever takes a one on one with the ANC takes a poison challis. DA calls it the doomsday coalition, but omits to say that if it was the DA as junior partner it is also doomsday.

Now take a step back, stop looking at the blonde, and consider that the ONLY coalition that can actually take South Africa forward, The golden coalition of DA, EFF, MK (47%) and 4% of a minority party. (51%).

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“They don’t share our values”

Of course they don’t share our values otherwise they would be us.

South Africa – blame it on the proportional system – has come through thirty years of confrontational politics. The result is like a badly managed football team where players are too scared to pass the ball lest someone scores a goal.

That is why Jacob- Zulu -Uber-Alles- Zuma and Julius-wont-help-whites- Malema cannot talk to Helen-our-values-first-Zille. In their naked desire to push their own interests or nothing, South Africa’s political parties have led us down a path of low growth destruction. Each blames everyone else except themselves.

The ANC led by Cyril-whats-best-for-our-people-Rhamaphosa has been built on a house of patronage. It is now dragged down so heavily by largess, that it cannot move for fear of upsetting those that surfeit voluptuously. You can't get what you want, but you can get the best possible outcome. By adopting the techniques of game theory, everyone can better better off – including the ANC!

It starts with accepting that no matter how different the other party is, they have been voted to represent the interests of democratic voters in a fair a free election. Respect them for that.

Citizens, we are not without power. Standing right in front of us is the opportunity to reset our alignments. As citizens, we should coerce the political parties into cooperation.

The golden coallition proposes that the EFF, The DA and MK cooperate, give each other space. The ANC takes a powerful role as opposition.

"Ukuti iyosala nkomoni – let us see what creature will come forth." - Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe.

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What does the ANC want?

What does the ANC want, but more importantly what can they get?

What does Cyril Rhamaphosa want, and what can he get?

There is a big difference between “want” and “get”. If you are an analyst contributing to the Golden Coalition then you should understand the difference. You will be able to help the Party that you support to get “the best we can get” by examining all the other alternatives and when you have come to the point where you realise that the best your party can get is what the Golden Coalition offers – then we have the Nash Equilibrium!

You can help your party by doing the analysis and then convincing your leaders to adopt the Golden Coalition.

The ANC would like to continue as is, using a passive minority partner to fill up the gap between 40% and 50%.

Cyril Rhamaphosa would like to continue as President of the ANC and President of South Africa and finish his legacy by getting everything right.

What the ANC can get out of the golden coalition is to go into opposition politics in an orderly manner and to release the cadres into the private sector. The ANC can help draft the amnesty that will allow all cadres the best shot at transitioning into private sector prosperity.

The world opens up bigtime for Cyril Rhamaphosa if he supports the Golden Coalition. He can either follow politics, stay on as an opposition parliamentarian or exit into the private sector where he will be welcomed as the Chairman of any Huge Corporation lucky enough to get him.

Still don’t believe me?

Lets rank the options for the ANC in order of preference:

1) The Golden Coalition. This offers a stable (scary but stable) option laced with prosperity and an end to the witch hunts and litigation. Think of how the Afrikaners thrived in 1996 after they were freed from the “staatsdiens”. The idea that The ANC are letting down the cadres by accepting the Golden Coalition is misplaced. By monday morning the Cadres will be meeting to discuss how to compete in the private sector. The Amnesty was a most important element of the 1994 transition.

2) Declare a minority Government. If the ANC cannot get the Golden Coalition passed, then they should simply step back and declare themselves a minority government. The Doomsday Coalition is a poisoned challis. It is obvious that it is toxic for the DA, EFF, MK. What is not so obvious is that Doomsday is also poisonous for the ANC!

3) The Doomsday Coalitions. These are the coalitions with the DA, ANC, MK or EFF. I know the DA thinks they are above this, but they are not. Here is the surprise, the ANC is also not above the Doomsday Coalition. The fundamental reason that the Doomsday coalitions are unsustainable is obvious. The largess is unpayble. Even if the junior partners agreed to give the ANC their vote for nothing, The ANC would lose at the first no confidence debate. In reality they will bid against each other for the Doomsday Coalition and drive the price to noddy land. The Doomsday Coalitions cannot create jobs, because they are already crowding out. ONLY the Golden Coalition releases the Cadres from the Government sector into the private sector to become monday employers. The ANC will be better off in opposition.

4) Call for a Government of National Unity. The last grasp to hold onto power. The ANC will make a great opposition, but a miserable coalition partner. This is the option where we put ANC first and try to protect the Cadres. This fails because it does not address the problem. While the cadres are tax takers (25% of collections) they are the problem. Move them into the private sector and they become the solution. For a government to succeed it needs to trim down, not fatten up. Ministries down to 15! Save nationally and devolve revenue down to the Provinces. Just man up take the route to opposition as the voters chose and it will work out. The golden coalition is a shared power but the way the voters want it. It is the stable one!

5) Empty the treasury and try to buy the way out of this. Choose the cadres above the Citizens. Make the cadres special and Create Government Jobs. Surely you have been doing this? It is a nice idea, but it will be more effectively done in the private sector, where the outgoing cadres will be welcomed.

6) Start a fight, send in the army and declare martial law. Rule by Junta. Really? This is how BJ Vorster would have done it. Look where it led him. The ANC will be better off taking the Golden Coalition and going into opposition. Opposition still has an important role to play in government.

Cyril Rhamaposa if he stays in a Doomsday Coalition has his fate is tied to the outcomes chosen by the ANC. It is downhill all the way, he can continue to fly first class, but it is still downhill. Cyril Rhamaposa is better off taking the Golden Coalition and leading the transition into the private sector.

Cyril Rhamaphosa would make the best Leader of the Opposition we have had in our democracy. He simply has to be there, do his job diligently and then when the Golden Coalition falls apart, he can return as a white knight and rescue South Africa. By then the Cadres are tax payers not tax takers.

If Cyril Rhamaphosa wants to be loyal to his supporters, he should stay in Government and focus on delivery to the 40% of South Africans that voted for him and the ANC. The ANC will still be responsible for the provincial executive of six out of nine provinces.

I am sure that Cyril; Rhamaphosa will choose the Golden Coalition. It is the best option for him and the ANC. It is the best option for South Africa.

There are leaders that will burn down their countries to stay in power, but Cyril Ramaphosa is not one of them. His options outside of government are actually so much better than his options inside.

"We take our stand on the principle that Africa is one and desires to be one and nobody, I repeat, nobody has the right to balkanize our land. - Mangaliso Robert C Sobukwe.

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The Doomsday Coalition

The Doomsday Coalition is a concept developed by the DA. The DA sees The Doomsday Coalition as anyone that is not them. Thinks about it for a momnet, The Doomsday coalition is any coalition that includes the ANC.

The Golden Coalition requires the ANC to go into opposition. I urge Cyril Ramaphosa to accept this and use his leadership to take us forward. The ANC holds its power on a web of patronage, taking from the many and giving to the few. It has “bought” the elections previously, this time it ran out of money this time. The largess has become overwhelming.

Simple indicators show this : We have a Cabinet of 30 ministers, the USA runs of 10. ESKOM has the highest rate of Employees to Watts Generated in the world. There are 55 000 people that earn more that R 1 M working in the SA Government. The result of this - crowding out – gives us : low growth, low investment, unemployment, poverty, inequality, high taxation.

When the DA (or EFF or MK) makes a deal with the ANC – The Doomsday Coalition – the principle is going to be that somehow this system of 55,000 surfeiting voluptuously will continue. We will add a whole lot of DA supporters to the 55,000? The Golden coalition releases those 55,000 into the private sector where they become tax makers not tax takers! That is the incredible alternative – weird and scary I know – but the only one that lets us drain the swamp. The Golden Coalition of DA, EFF and MK. If you stop and think about it, the Golden Coalition is also the best for the ANC! The ANC will make a far better opposition than the one we have. The Golden Coalition makes us address the big issues, unemployment, student debt, RET. The Doomsday Coalition defers these issues until we are all weaker.

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Denial is the first of five stages of acceptance

In game theory, a multi-player prisoner’s dilemma only achieves the Nash equilibrium when all players accept that they can’t get what they want, only the best that they can get. In the current South African election, the Golden Coalition represents the Nash equilibrium where each (rational) party accepts what they can get and acts accordingly.

It takes five stages to get from chasing what they want to accepting the best that they can get:


Right now the political parties are in Denial. Next comes ...

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What do the players want?

We have discussed what the ANC wants and what it can get, Let us look at what the DA, MK and EFF want and what they can get.

With all the bluster you might think that what the opposition parties want is to follow their supporters’ mandates. To do that they enter negotiations with demands. If only that were true, events would unfold much easier. What the opposition parties really want is a chance to govern. Not only does government bring with it more loot, it also gives the parties a chance to strut their stuff before the electorate. Being in Government is first prize.

The Golden Coalition offers all parties the chance to optimise what they can get.

For the DA the choice is easy :

The Golden Coalition offers them a chance to be the major coalition partner (22/51) it is almost 50% of the pie, not as a junior where the ANC is dominant. This is a no brainer. The objection that the EFF and MK are “fascists and tribal authoritarians” is mute. The fact that MK and EFF have such dominant characters makes it actually easier to accomplish. Convince two people and the party rabble will follow. The DA simply have to respect the aspirations of Malema and Zuma and recognise that these aspirations are no different to that of the DA. What better way to get what you want than for the DA to be the major coalition partner. As the Golden Coalition offers a R 500 BN windfall, The Western Cape and Guateng will have less of a tax burden and can easily be offered strong property rights.

The Doomsday Coalition is tantalising, but for the reasons explained elsewhere, the cost of being a junior in a coalition laden with largess can never yield what the DA want a chance to show off how they can govern. You are better off deal with comrade Zuma and comrade Malema than 50,000 ANC cadres. Not even Cyril Ramaphosa can handle the comrades! Being in Opposition is a step backwards. Besides the DA is not very good at being opposition. The ANC will be mcuh better at it, they know all the loopholes. All the DA has to do wohj the ANC is convionce them that their us a healthy need for good opposition. Paying off the Cadres is also not an option. The Cadres desperately fear losing their income. The DA simply has to convince them that is is in their best interests. Help them to understand that the whites, particularly the Afrikaners thrived after 1994 when the were freed of dependence on the state for income. An amnesty, where they get to keep the loot will go a long way to greasing the wheels of commerce.

The EFF is even easier to handle:

The Golden Coallition offers the EFF the best they can get. From as little as ten percent they advance to 20 percent of the Golden Coalition.

The Doomsday Coalition takes the EFF back to where they were as the youth league, hungry mouths looking in from the outside while the old people gorge themselves.

The EFF Demands are very light:

Nothing that advances the interests of whites. Anyone white person that has lived under the draconian DA rates system knows that they take everything. The DA talks with a silver tongue. They have depressed the Western Cape property system to the point where rates are the highest in the country and the whites pay it diligently. I would suggest to the EFF, that looking after the interests of their supporters (back urban youth) isa more important than worrying about the futures of seven percent of the population

Free quality education. This is the key element of the Golden Coalition that the EFF can win. The Golden Coalition is R 500BN cash positive. Part of the coalition agreement can be an immediate scrapping of the Student debt and the EFF can be put in charge of the biggest social spending – education. The EFF supporters are the intelligent black urban youth. Give them what they want and the EFF cannot do better that the Golden Coalition

Return of the stolen land. The Golden Coalition brings the land issue to the forefront. The Doomsday Coalition defers it while the cadres grab the last of the loot. The land issue was actually won by the ANC, where 40% mostly rural voters chose the ANC. Whatever the outcome of the coalitions, the ANC won the provinces in six out of ten provinces, it would be respectful to the voters to let the ANC sort them out.

Floyd Shivambu as Minister of finance. I can’t see a problem with this. It is a complete misunderstanding to believe that the Finance minister has so much power that he is not under that order of Cabinet. Finance minister is an admin job. Collect the tax from SARS and pay it out according to the MDB as prescribed by Parliament. Best done by a CA, but as long as Floyd follows the instructions, there is no reason why he should not be able to do it. Of course if he doesn’t deal with Stellenbosch first, he will last less than Des van Rooyen. No finacne Minister can save his career if the Rand drops

It would be helpful if the EFF rank their demands and choose the most important first. Education sounds like the best option for a 10%

MK is going to be the easiest to accommodate.

The Golden Coalition will give Jacob Zuma an amnesty and reinstate him as Premier of KZN. As the Golden Coalition saves R 500 Bn could (still have to check the numbers) give KZN a R100BN boost. RET can begin in KZN before 1 July. What an opportunity to show us how its done!

The Doomsday Coalition offers Jacob Zuma strife and struggle. The ANC is no longer the same as when he left it When he left 11,000 cadres earned more than R 1 Miliion a year. That demand has now risen to 55,000. Is that really what Jacob Zuma wants, dealing with 50,000 hungry, and very expensive mouths?

Standing to the side shaking his fist, will work for a short time more, but it is a technicality to do the Golden Coalition without KZN. The Golden Coalition has so much more to offer MK. They can pick the cherries and leave the stalks for the EFF and DA to sort out.

Every party and I mean EVERY party benefits from the Golden Coalition, just not as much as they want.

The philosophy of Africanism holds out the hope of a genuine democracy beyond the stormy sea of struggle.- Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe


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Data Sources

World Bank
SARB Quarterly Bulliten, South Africa Reserve Bank, 2024
StatsSA, South Africa, 2024
SA Treasury, South Africa, 2024