Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Saturday, August 07, 2004

NNP finally gives up the ghost
The NNP announced today that they would fight all future elections under the ANC, ceasing to exist after the floor-crossing window opens in September 2005, and sending yet another opposition party to its grave.

Although the ANC purports that there is nothing wrong with one-party democracy, I firmly believe that there are significant vulnerabilities in such a theology. One party leadership negates the strengths of strong democratic opposition as the only robust way to ensure protection against the ravages of corruption and power-hungry leadership. There is great temptation for future ANC leadership to take steps entrench, or even ensure, their leadership position through abuses of power, without the usual safety net of opposition.

The question is though, what the ANC will be gaining from this arrangement? The marriage with the ANC was an abhorration for many NNP members, and many of them will presumably not be defecting. The situation under the ANC-NNP marriage ensured that the ANC leveraged the entire NNP party structure, without having to deal with unhappy members. So who will benefit from these politicians, and these voters? I would think that they will be split throughout the opposition parties, with gains for the DA, for the ACDP and perhaps for the ID and Freedom Front.

Whilst this will imply that the ANC will lose some of their NNP members, this will no doubt not be of much concern to them, as it represents the folding of another opposition party. The irony must be especially sweet for the ANC, overseeing the amalgamation of the party born from Apartheid's creators into the belly of the new South African government, and I hasten to add, and politics aside, the South African political landscape looks a lot rosier without any vestige of the old NP left.