WikiLeaks cable: Is the ANC as democratic as it claims?

2011-08-25 09:58

The ANC by 2010 had slipped into anti-democratic practices reminiscent of the regime it fought to overthrow, says a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

According to the Pretoria embassy cable, dated January 8 2010, the ANC was following in the footsteps of the white-minority regime in its handling of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), a protest movement by impoverished shack dwellers.

“The parallels between AbM’s struggles against the ANC and the latter’s fight against the apartheid regime cannot be ignored,” says the cable, titled “Is the ANC as democratic as it claims?”

“The accounts of forced removals, violence, intimidation and leaders in hiding seem like echoes of a time supposedly gone forever.”

The leaked cable draws a link between the psychology of the ANC’s fight against apartheid and its handling of the AbM.

“Even talk by ANC leaders of a ‘third force’ at work are eerily reminiscent of a paranoid apartheid era,” it said.

“The AbM movement is a test of democratic governance for the ANC, as it decides what to do when its own people do not support its vision of development.”

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