Whatever the virtues of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) – we are assured it still has a few – it was never any good at armed struggle. And no more comprehensive support for that judgment has been assembled than the valuable new book, “Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle”, by the University of Pretoria’s Thula Simpson.
The EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and the DA's James Selfe give fascinating insight into what happened in six crucial meetings
Six meetings over ten days at different locations in Gauteng following the sensational local government election results of 3 August have changed the face and dynamic of South African politics, maybe forever.
South African president Jacob Zuma often boasts that the African National Congress (ANC) “will rule until Jesus comes back.” Voters have consistently given it clear majorities in national, provincial, and local elections since 1994, when South Africa first made the transition to democracy. A certain level of hubris may have been inevitable.
No one is fooled. When ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe complains that the local government voting system has been unfair to the ANC, we know that what he is actually doing - he is making excuses for the fact that the ANC has lost absolute political control in crucial metropolitan municipalities. He is complaining about the rules after the game is over. If that's just being a sore loser, more sinister is his threat to change the voting system to one that enables the ANC to do better.
EITHER city voters will get the ANC leadership they want by 2019, or the party may well no longer govern the country on its own. The ANC’s huge setback does not change the reality that, for a while yet, what happens in the governing party will shape politics here.
In depth: Local elections 2016
electionsLocal elections news, views and analysis
THE days that follow an election result are fraught with rhetoric and hyperbole, as political parties battle to frame the results on their terms. One needs to step away from all of this to provide a more sober reading of the numbers and what they mean. Typically, when one does this, the final statistics cut something of a contrast with the grand claims that mark the post-election environment more generally.
What do the results mean for the 2019? The top line numbers tell a particular story in this regard.
There is a growing authoritarian impulse in South Africa, including among some student activists. Mark Wessells/Reuters
South Africa is sinking into a political, social and economic crisis. Running in parallel is a growing disillusionment about the post-apartheid project of transformation.