ANC response to poll losses startles S. Africa


When South African voters last month handed the African National Congress its worst-ever losses, seemingly chastened party leaders said they would engage in “introspection.” They promised to reach out to South Africans disillusioned by the A.N.C.’s apparent transformation from a celebrated liberation movement with cherished ideals to a corrupt party interested in self-preservation and self-enrichment, The New York Times reports:

But in the weeks since the Aug. 3 municipal elections, the A.N.C, which remains in power at the national level, has brushed aside calls from inside and outside the party to replace the scandal-tainted president, Jacob Zuma, before the end of his term in 2019. Instead of introspection, Mr. Zuma and his allies have moved aggressively to tighten their grip on the state’s coffers, surprising opponents and allies alike with their undisguised moves.

With little explanation, Mr. Zuma announced that he would directly oversee the state enterprises that have long been the source of public corruption. And his allies have renewed their attacks on Mr. Zuma’s finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, who has built a reputation for probity and has tried to uproot malfeasance in government; even one of the A.N.C.’s closest allies, the South African Communist Party, has described the moves against the minister as intended to “weaken Treasury’s struggle against corruption.”

“We’re in the lingering days of these liberation movements,” said Roger Southall, a professor emeritus at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and an expert on liberation movements. “They’re not suddenly going to lose power,” he added. “They’ll go on organizationally. But they’ve certainly lost their shine, the hopes that they were embodied with, and, in South Africa, that process has been hugely accelerated by the Zuma presidency.”

Similarly, in Zimbabwe, the militarization of state institutions now extends beyond just the state-security agencies to other key institutions including the judiciary, state-owned media, and the electoral commission, analyst Charles Mangongera writes for The Journal of Democracy:

Just as certain state institutions have become militarized, so has the ruling ZANU-PF fused with the state. According to ZANU-PF’s “end-of-history” mentality, the party is entitled to stay in power forever due to its liberation credentials. To them, the attainment of independence in 1980 signaled the end of all struggles; any opposition is therefore deemed an attempt to reverse the gains of independence.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email