According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC is confident that his organization will win next year’s general election with an absolute majority. However, several factors indicate that the pants of the planners of the election strategy are shaking at least a little.
The one issue that points to trouble for the ANC is the decision by the party’s KwaZulu-Natal branch to appoint former president Jacob Zuma to help with vote-getting in next year’s election. The decision alone points to a whole lot of intrigue within the ANC.
Such provincial divisiveness naturally carries the danger that it can boomerang at the national level. The ACDP in KwaZulu-Natal, for example, previously supported the ANC to take over power in the province from the IVP. Explanations that it was to achieve a governable majority in the province simply did not go down well with many voters elsewhere.
At least it is also a fact that Zuma, despite the fact that he is on trial on charges of enormous corruption, still enjoys wide support among many. However, it is a risk to involve him. Claims that this is being done to prevent Zuma from joining the EFF may not be so far-fetched.
More relevant, is the realization by the ANC that matters in South Africa viewed as a whole have deteriorated to such an extent that the gap between what voters were promised and what is actually happening is now becoming unsustainably large. Instinctively, blame-shifting is applied, and the usual scapegoat, apartheid, is hunted. The first sign of this was when the housing minister laid the blame for the deadly fire in a hijacked building in Johannesburg at the door of apartheid.
Whether this dumpling will have the “desired” effect remains to be seen. A few factors mean that it may no longer work as automatically.
1. Next year it will be thirty years since the ANC came to power. Although the living conditions of many black people have improved, squatters’ areas and, among other things, squatters’ huts that have been erected against Metrorail’s railway lines, indicate that not everyone has benefited.
2. Even though the ANC tries with actions and words as hard as possible to retain the black support through political division, it is no longer so easy. There is now a darkness of black-dominated political parties that are at odds with the ANC. Some do enter into mainly opportunistic cooperation agreements with municipalities (with often disastrous consequences for the communities).
With the exception of the EFF, these parties are usually very small. Some, mostly with a lot of brown support, tend to cooperate with the too established DA-led “moonshot pact”.
3. The ANC’s handling of the Western Cape Santaco taxi strike was instinctive rather than informed. Many of the affected commuters have lost income and endured excruciating inconvenience. The Minister of Transport’s criticism of Cape Town’s handling of the matter, such as that impounding the taxis is contrary to the law, was pointed out as clear twaddle as it appears that Cape Town still impounds around 20 taxis per day for, among other things, being unroadworthy.
It must also be borne in mind that it was not the ANC that abolished apartheid. The last apartheid law, the one on racial classification, was already scrapped in 1991 by the previous government. However, the ANC itself came up with a form of new apartheid, and put numerous laws on the statute book which not only determine different outcomes for different races, but which are also blatantly discriminatory. It is also contrary to international conventions, ironically signed by the ANC government. It would have been much worse if it had not been for civic institutions like Solidarity, and that struggle is still ongoing.
However, from statements made at the launch of the ANC’s election manifesto, it is clear that oil apartheid will now be dusted off with opinion, even though it has already been more than thirty years since the last apartheid law was scrapped. In order to strengthen racial interests, among other things it is obviously allowed that the “song” “Kill the Boer, kill the farmer” does not count as hate speech. (The appeals court case that AfriForum is pushing for this started with the writing of this).
Can dusting off a smelly carcass still work for the ANC? The ANC has a reputation for making strong final attempts at elections, although those final attempts have also begun to lose steam on the surface. With the increase in significant black parties, the ANC also no longer has such a monopoly on the IEC’s election results.