This week’s political news has led me to go back to Moeletsi Mbeki’s article “Tunisia Day”, in which he predicted that ANC will face a revolution from the people and lose power. He argued that “the year 2020 is when China estimates that its current minerals-intensive industrialisation phase will be concluded” and the ANC will be forced to cut back on Social Grants therefore losing legitimacy on black poor South Africans.
On twitter, I once asked Helen Zille when she thinks the DA will take over from the ANC and she replied “2019” and this re-enforced Moeletsi’s predictions. I respect Moeletsi as a political scientist but I also think he attaches feelings in his analyses of the ANC and the South African economy. Helen on the other hand is the opposition to the ANC and obviously she wants to takeover. But I still question their predictions.
Although people in the ANC are corrupt; many people still love it. Social grants are the reason according to Mbeki but it is not the only one and I don’t think this would be enough for black South Africans to revolt. There are few minor but significant reasons why the ANC holds so much power.
Firstly, the Tripartite Alliance: although the ANC, COSATU and the SACP have a number of issues that they disagree on, a split or separation in the near future is not visible. Both COSATU and SACP stand together with the ANC near elections. Helen Zille is indeed aware of this; and it was not hard to believe that she wanted Vavi on her camp. Well, Helen denied these claims; but who exactly must we believe? Recruiting Vavi would be a very smart move for Helen; that way she would rock the ANC’s boat and she is aware of this.
Secondly, it is argued that the ANC is at the centre of the ideological spectrum in South Africa. And this makes it difficult for opposition parties to come up with alternative policies. My Lecturer Antony Butler (at UCT) once said the DA’s and ANC’s policies are the same. They all aspire to the same interests with regards with what the people of South Africa want. But it’s obvious that the ANC led government is not able to implement these policies but the DA can. And this is a debate for another day.
Thirdly, ANC’s history has had influence in the voting behaviour of most South Africans. Most people still hold firmly the belief that they owe the ANC their votes. They vote to show respect for the likes of Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters. Coming back to Moeletsi’s stance; some think that social grants are provided for by the ANC and no other political party can provide them. To them; placing an X next to some other political party means the end of their grants and a life to absolute poverty.
Yes, these minor factors but for some reason they have managed to keep the ANC in power for 5 consecutive elections. This is obviously a big threat to our democracy as these people have started to abuse their power already. The Judiciary which in an ideal democracy would have more power than the executive and legislature is weak. The executive seems to be the “BOSS”.
Poor service delivery, poor education, poor health system and corruption seem not to be the reasons for South Africans to change their votes. Would the cut in social grants be the answer?