Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, September 03, 2007

The ANC: End of the Empire or Annus Horribilis?
My latest piece on Thought Leader has a look at the current state of the ANC, and poses the question whether we are seeing the beginnings of the end of "liberation party" voting or whether this is simply a bad year for the party. A short sample:
Since the end of the first decade of freedom in 2004, many political commentators have been looking for signs of that watershed moment when the ANC electorate stops voting solely for the party of their liberation, and starts voting for the party of their relevance.

The ANC has traditionally gained from being the instrument of liberation in taking the key role in the negotiations from 1990 to 1994 and for possessing the symbol of the struggle in Nelson Mandela. Most voters spent their first years of free elections voting for the ANC solely for this reason. For the past three years since the end of the first decade, there has been significantly more internal and external dissent, none more so than 2007. The question thus stands: Is this just a bad year for the ANC, or are we in the first throes of the end of the empire?

Between the violent and widespread delivery protests, corruption problems, the succession battles, Zuma’s graft and rape trials, open verbal warfare between the ANC, SACP and Cosatu, and the Health Ministry issues, the ANC as a party hasn’t seen a tougher year since coming to power. Thus far, this has translated into a somewhat shaken international respect, a difficult final term for Mbeki, and a lot of shouting at ANC imbizos, but has not yet manifested in the form of altered voter sentiment, but the real tests here are in the coming years.

Have a read of the full post here.