Ruling party, opposition parties in South Africa
The African National Congress is the ruling party in South Africa. Although it has been in existence for more than a hundred years founded in 1912 to fight for African political and economic rights, it has only been in power since 1994.
The present president is the fourth to hold the position and the possibility of the party losing the next election due next year has been mooted.
That possibility rests on the loss of support of a large section of the African community, the greatest support base of the party.
How has this come about? The greatest cause of the loss of support is the unchanging condition, economic and social, of the Black African majority of South Africa.
This change has not taken place because of corruption and its consequences on the people of South Africa. Government action in the area of provisions of social amenities has been slow and even sometimes reluctant.
The one great relief of social grant payment is for the first time threatened, again due to corruption. Housing provision has stopped.
The RDP houses provided in the flush of the Mandela years have finished collapsing.
Land redistribution, for housing and for agricultural use, has been in go-slow from the beginning of democratic rule.
Provision of adequate education infrastructure has been problematic with pupil deaths in pit latrines. Weekly demonstrations near townships and shack-cities indicate the intractable solutions to the provision of social amenities.
Corruption did not begin in 1994 with the African National Congress. Many critics of the party would claim that corruption was part of the struggle against apartheid regime of the white racists.
Example is usually given of “struggle accounting” strategy of not giving proper accounts of funding provided during that liberation struggle.
In the course of its hundred years the African National Congress has split a number of times. These splits have provided most of the opposition parties that would oppose the African National Congress in its attempt to govern the country.
The first major split came when Robert Sobukwe (1924 – 1978) opposed the multi-racial path of the African National Congress in 1958.
He led an Africanist group to form the Pan Africanist Congress PAC. On March 21 the PAC held an anti-pass demonstration against the apartheid government. Demonstrators were shot and killed leading to the Sharpville Massacre.
By the time of the second and third democratic elections support for the PAC had dwindled to one sole member of Parliament. The PAC is not a player in today’s South African political field.
The next great split came in 2007 after the Polokwane ANC conference in which Jacob Zuma defeated Thabo Mbeki for president of the party. CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLE (COPE) was the main break away party from that fiasco and it is well represented in parliament today.
One of the most dramatic political movements in recent years has been the Economic Freedom Fighters led by the former leader of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema (1981 – ). He was swore he would die for Zuma, he has spent the last four or so years more prepared to kill Zuma or at least destroy him politically.
The present president of the ANC and the country chaired the committee that managed the expulsion of Julius Malema from the African National Congress in 2012 for anti-party activities.
Malema, along with his followers, formed the military style political party the Economic Freedom Fighters complete with military beret and red worker overalls in parliament.
In a short time the EFF had a ten percent parliamentary representation.
In the years that have seen the South African government sink into industrial type structured corruption called State Capture the EFF became the party to vote for. As long as the ANC stood behind Jacob Zuma in all his shenanigans the bled membership that went straight into the EFF.
And when Jacob Zuma’s end was nigh even the ANC went to Julius Malema and his EFF. During the second term of President Zuma, eight or so no confidence votes were moved against him.
The ANC with its overwhelming majority prevented and damage coming to Zuma. But by the February, even the ANC wanted Zuma out of their government. They asked him to resign. He refused to resign.
He said he had not done anything wrong and nobody had told him what he had done wrong. Were they opposed to his policy of radical economic transformation he was pursuing in government? Were these people asking him to leave worried about his struggle against white monopoly capital?
The party went to the December elective conference and rejected the candidate that Zuma favoured to succeed him, his former wife. He felt betrayed. The new officers wrote to him to step down. He wrote back that he would not.
At that point only Julius Malema’s EFF had a motion of no confidence in Jacob Zuma waiting to be debated in parliament. The ANC went to Zuma and told him the party would join the EFF to pass a vote of no confidence on him if he did not resign.
It was pointed out that he would lose his presidential pension and other goodies if he was kicked out on a vote of no confidence. Finally, Jacob Zuma resigned as president of South Africa.
Like all those who pray who should be worried what to do if they get what they prayed for, Malema and the EFF seemed to be at the end of their political ambition. Zuma was no more. What to fight now? Who to war against?
The new leadership of the ANC appealed to Julius Malema and the EFF to return to and rejoin the ANC! TABOO! Shouted Malema. How could he join the nonsense that is left of the ANC? Maybe if the ANC was prepared to dissolve itself and the EFF also dissolves itself and the two groups now form a new party is how he could join anything to do with the ANC.
So, what is the future of the ruling party and the opposition parties in South Africa? If the ANC goes alone it could need a coalition to form the next government.
There is a practice run going on in the Nelson Mandela Bay Mayorial no confidence vote in which the EFF is planning to replace a DA mayor, with an ANC one. Malema gives and Malema takes away. All that would survive the populist politics of tomorrow come unto him!!!
Kle mtbankole.omotoso @elizadeuniversity.edu.ng