South Africa’s Local Election: ANC Cronyism is Catching Up
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Power concentration under white apartheid rule was followed by a ruling elite under the African National Congress (ANC). Of course, the apartheid system had to end based on open racist policies that defined un-justice to the maximum. Yet, for far too long corruption and cronyism ruled the day under the ANC. Thankfully, after such a long struggle to create a new South Africa, it finally appears to be coming to fruition even if some negatives apply. This is based on a growing multi-party democracy that is finally escaping the clutches of ANC power concentration.
In local polls, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) defeated the ANC in the capital of this nation. Similarly, the DA delivered a crushing blow to the ANC in many parts of South Africa, including in staunchly anti-apartheid areas. At the same time, the electoral race is extremely close in Johannesburg. However, even if the DA loses narrowly in Johannesburg, it still shows you the giant strides being taken by the DA and other political parties because no party will obtain 50% in this powerful city.
Associated Press says, “With no party reaching a majority in Johannesburg or Tshwane, the possible formation of coalition governments is the next challenge. Results were delayed for Johannesburg even beyond Saturday night’s announcement ceremony, with some wards still being finalized. The ANC was leading the Democratic Alliance there, 43 percent to 39 percent.”
Across the whole of South Africa, the ANC still is the main political party locally with approximately 54% of the overall national vote. Yet this is dramatically different than in past elections. Given this reality, the DA with roughly 27% and the emerging Economic Freedom Fighters Party with a very respectable 8%, then multi-party democracy is the real winner in South Africa based on the outcome of this local election.
Mmusi Maimane, the political leader of the DA, said: “For far too long, the ANC has governed South Africa with absolute impunity.”
Not surprisingly, pro-ANC individuals are painting a picture of political apathy in order to deflect from the success of opposition political parties. Yet, it is too easy to lambast the DA based on past political sands and different realities. In other words, the election was a timely reminder to the ANC that vast numbers of South Africans are disillusioned with political corruption, cronyism, limited opportunities – and rich elites that are creating internal convulsions.
Reuters says, “Unemployment, a stagnating economy and scandals around President Jacob Zuma led voters to punish the ANC, changing the outlook for national elections in 2019 and potentially emboldening Zuma’s rivals within the ANC to challenge him.”
The Guardian similarly reports, “If the ANC acts against Zuma, who has been tainted by corruption allegations, in the coming weeks, black urban voters will almost certainly return to the fold. If not, this election shows that the goodwill will not last forever.”
In the past, the DA had certain stronghold areas but the results of this election mean that in certain areas this political party is branching out. Of course, it could well be that the ANC reinvigorates itself by focusing on rooting out individuals that appear to value personal wealth – and political cronyism – at the expense of the masses. However, irrespective if the ANC does finally reinvigorate itself, it is abundantly clear that new political dynamics are shaping up this nation because continuity can no longer be taken for granted.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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