Analysis  >  Friday Briefing | The ANC at 108: the sick man of South African politics

Friday Briefing ANC cover

Celebrating 108 years of the ANC… amid load shedding, tepid economic growth and state capture 

The ANC, in government for more than a quarter century this year, will be celebrating its 108th year of existence on Saturday. 

The party has, over the years, been rightly venerated as one of the leading forces against apartheid and racial discrimination. But it has lost most of its lustre over the past decade due to corruption and mismanagement perpetrated by its leaders and members. 

When he delivers the message of the ANC’s national executive on Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa is going to struggle to convince broader society that the party has (a) a grasp of the multitude of problems facing South Africa (b) a firm plan to deal with the most pressing problems, including Eskom, and (c) the fortitude to implement the necessary interventions. 

In fact, when Ramaphosa delivers his speech on Saturday millions of South Africans will be without electricity as a creaking Eskom continues the collapse under the weight of corruption and poor management.

In the first edition of News24’s Friday Briefing for 2020 analyst Mpumelelo Mkhabela argues that the ANC has become a vessel for empty promises and hollow rhetoric, and former politics lecturer Wesley Seale explains why the party needs younger leaders with fresh ideas.

Also read why I believe the ANC is the sick man of South African politics. All the best for what promises to be another turbulent year. 

Pieter du Toit

Assistant Editor: In-depth news

Former South African President Jacob Zuma waits ah

The ANC at 108: the sick man of South African politics

Pieter du Toit

The ANC in 2020 is facing crises on all fronts, with declining electoral support, a weakening state and a perilous economic environment (to which it has in no small measure contributed) being the biggest threats to its continued survival.After the widespread destruction wreaked on the country by the ANC during the reign of Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa has set out to repair and recover the state, stripped by Zuma and his acolytes over a period spanning nearly a decade.


President Cyril Ramaphosa at a press briefing at M

Empty promises, hollow rhetoric define the ANC today

Mpumelelo Mkhabela

January 8 statements, once the most serious messages from party leadership, providing guidance to supporters of the movement on the struggle against apartheid, have now become monotonous rhetoric of promises. But the decline in electoral support – from two-thirds majority in 2004 to 57 percent in 2019 – is proof of growing concern about the direction of the ANC.


Gifts for the ANC at 108 years? Younger leaders with ideas

Wesley Seale

Just as it was stuck with an ageing leadership in the 1940s so too today it is stuck with a NEC leadership and cabinet that averages on 60 years old. Innovation and creativity is therefore sparse and the same rhetoric and thinking common in the 1980s and 1990s continues to reign today.


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