6 June 2024


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

ANC Loses Majority


In South Africa, the African National Congress has been the party of government since the end of apartheid. As late as the 2019 election, the ANC received almost 60% of the vote. High unemployment, weakened public services and the global inflation along with political antics of ex-president Zuma resulted in a collapse of the ANC vote to just over 40%. The ANC is internally suggesting a government of national unity. That is unlikely as some parties refuse to work with others. But it is an opening bid to see who is willing to go into coalition.

The Associated Press reported, "The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), had 21.80% support while uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), a new party led by former President Jacob Zuma, managed to grab 14.58%. The far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, got 9.5%."

Seats in the parliament will fall more or less along those lines, which means that the ANC has a choice of partners. It can go into coalition with the DA or MK by themselves or with the EFF in the hopes of having a few extra supporters in the lower house. That is not what the ANC has offered. The national unity government would include all of them.

However, the pro-business DA is not about to sit in the came cabinet as the EFF. The arithmetic suggests that the DA is more significant as a partner. With EFF, the ANC barely has a majority.

The hard deal would be with MK, and former president Jacob Zuma. Al Jazeera explained,

"Zuma, a stalwart of the anti-apartheid movement who was removed from presidential office in 2018 amid a cloud of corruption allegations, is a popular figure among many South Africans and has relied on populist policies to attract votes.

During the election campaign, he attributed South Africa's struggles to "white monopoly capital" and fashioned his successor, Ramaphosa, as an "agent of capital". He also criticised the ANC for its failures without conceding that he was president of the party for 10 years and deputy president for as many. Zuma made bold promises to end unemployment and poverty.

Mr. Zuma is out of prison after having served time for contempt of court. He made a great deal of headway in KwaZulu-Natal, where he is personally popular. His move from the ANC to MK has created a fissure (or even an outright split) within the ANC. The only thing that may diminish his influence in the future is that he is 82 years old.

So, where does all this leave South Africa? It appears that it is making the difficult transition from a nation ruled by the liberation generation to those who grew up after apartheid. White minority rule is long gone, and the problems of the day cannot reasonable be blamed on it. At least, it cannot take the blame for the past couple decades' of errors. That is the ANC legacy in government.

The negotiations on coalition will yield not just a new government but also a new direction for the ANC. Will it turn to the business-backed DA? Will it find a way to make a deal with Mr. Zuma? Will it decide more left-wing economics are the solution to the poverty so many citizens of the nation suffer? Much of this will turn on personalities and lower level politics, but in the end, the future of direction of the nation is going to be decided.

© Copyright 2024 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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