A.N.C. Suffers Major Election Setback in South Africa | The New York Times


JOHANNESBURG — The African National Congress, the party that helped liberate black South Africans from white-minority rule but has become mired in corruption, endured its worst election since taking power after the end of apartheid, according to results released on Friday….

For the opposition Democratic Alliance, the election results are the first significant victories outside of its stronghold in the western part of the country. Whites and South Africans of mixed race make up the party’s core supporters in that area, and blacks make up only about one-third of the population there.

The Democratic Alliance retained Cape Town, the nation’s second-biggest city, with a landslide victory. The party now controls at least two of the nation’s eight biggest cities.

Mmusi Maimane, who last year became the Democratic Alliance’s first black leader, claimed victory in the mayoral race in Pretoria on Friday, with more than 10 percent of the votes still left to be tallied. The A.N.C. did not concede.

Under Mr. Maimane, 36, who grew up in Soweto, the Democratic Alliance appears to have made inroads even in A.N.C. strongholds, especially among young voters whose image of the A.N.C. has less to do with Mr. Mandela than with Mr. Zuma.

“I wanted change,” said Tebogo Malatjie, an unemployed 22-year-old man in Soweto who voted for the first time for the Democratic Alliance. “You cannot vote for the A.N.C. if you want change.”

Apart from the charismatic Nelson Mandela, who made a major contribution in uniting the various tribes and cultures in South Africa, the ANC has proved itself incapable of governing a first-world economy. Mired in corruption and with rampant crime, the country has stumbled from one economic disaster to the next. The former guerilla army has proved incapable of adapting to the task of responsible government.

Nothing depicts the plight of the South African economy better than the demise of the Rand against the US Dollar (USDZAR plotted below with inverted semi-log scale):

USDZAR plotted below with inverted semi-log scale

The Democratic Alliance has used its traditional stronghold of the Western Cape to showcase the benefits of clean, stable government. A message that is now winning votes in Traditional ANC areas like Nelson Mandela Bay (formerly Port Elizabeth).

A Democratic Alliance win in the national elections, in 3 years time, is the best chance of restoring the country to its former status as the economic powerhouse of Africa.

Source: A.N.C. Suffers Major Election Setback in South Africa – The New York Times

10 Replies to “A.N.C. Suffers Major Election Setback in South Africa | The New York Times”

  1. I think you (Colin) are far more qualified than I am to comment on SA politics, so I’ll just throw this paraphrased quote on the stoop to see if the cat licks it up. I’m not sure whose quote it is (Wikipedia isn’t sure either), but it’s relevant.

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself benefits from the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits…” I suspect (with no evidence I hasten to add) that in South Africa, the politicians themselves have led the way in this endeavour.

    Democracy is hard work, both physically and psychologically, especially for people who can’t naturally take responsibility for their own futures, preferring others to decide everything for them. I liken democracy to a nation walking along the ridge of a high, steeply sloping sand dune. Some can stray off the path a bit and still scramble back to stability with help, but if too many tumble down to the shifting sands, it gets too hard, if not impossible, for enough to get back on top without destroying the entire dune. That’s when the Trumps and the Stalins and the Mugabes pounce. I wish Mr Mmusi Maimane well. I just hope he’s not one of them.

    1. Thanks Frank,
      In South Africa it is a case of the politicians stealing the loot and leaving just enough crumbs to keep their followers voting for them at the next election. The problem with that is (to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher) …..soon enough you run out of other peoples’ money.

      Democracy is hard work. I think it was Socrates who said that the forerunner of tyranny is democracy. The insatiable desire for more and more freedom eventually leads to a breakdown of democracy. The backlash is a demand for order …which creates the opportunity for tyrants like Mussolini, Hitler and Putin to seize power.

      1. “The insatiable desire for more and more freedom eventually leads to a breakdown of democracy. The backlash is a demand for order …”

        Yes, and we seem powerless to stop it in a republic-style system that votes for a few to represent the many. The knee-jerk reaction of those few is to try to force more laws through the system, rather than to engage in sensible debate to educate minds and change behaviours (voters’ and pollies’). The Internet is surely the tool for this if we could figure out how to use it properly. Your blog is a good start.

        I think Jennifer (other post) makes a good point above – “…and a dumbed down populace so ripe for the picking…” She’s so right, and I often wonder if the “all politicians are liars” meme endemic in society is a deliberate tactic to disengage voters, further exacerbating the dumbing down. At the risk of repeating myself from a previous post: dumbing down surely has its roots in school because history in schools is (at least was when I was at school) just names and dates and “great men” instead of essential training in how to avoid repeating catastrophic mistakes. Great men are usually the problem.

        Aside: I don’t think you read my last (literally my final) book The Stone Foundation (3rd in the trilogy)? In it I wipe out all men for 300 years, and women have to create a workable system free from male aggression. It was harder than I thought.

      1. Frank,
        I have corrected the original post.
        I doubt the Democratic Alliance (or DA) would have nominated Maimane if he did not embody their ideals. Started in the 1950s as the Progressive Party, and represented for many years by Helen Suzman, the party defied the Nationalist government and campaigned tirelessly for the removal of apartheid despite constant harassment.

        Their role has now shifted from acting as the ‘conscience’ of the white electorate, under the apartheid system, to serving as the ‘conscience’ of the ANC government…..advocating clean, responsible government without discrimination. Something I did not think achievable in my lifetime.

  2. Frank, it was Alexis De Tocqueville I believe, who said something along the lines of “the American experiment of democracy will fail once the public realise they can vote themselves largess from the public purse”.

    With our modern addiction to the religion of Statism we are well on the way with Fabians setting the pace in Australia, and a dumbed down populace so ripe for the picking that socialism is the cure all (Lead by Labor, but the LNP have some to answer for also). As De Tocqueville said, “Americans (and Australians) are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”

    1. Socio-Marxism is now so entrenched in our schooling systems, primary to Universities, lead by our ‘educators’, the Greens, the Union controlled Labor and the left-swinging Liberals… the dumbing down is on a steep up-trend… one of which I’m not sure we’ll recover.

      Australia has clearly learn’t nothing from the living/breathing case study that is the European Union and it’s participants… ‘equality’ indeed…

  3. Wow, that is admirable. Perhaps there’s hope for us after all. I hope they succeed.

    Thanks for allowing the link, it’s very kind of you. Here’s the Amazon link that makes all the books available electronically for small money (free in some cases). If readers want hard copy, they’ll have to email me on frankaquino at westnet dot com dot au and I’ll parcel post them at cost.


    I sell all hard copies at $24.95 each to recover Australian printing costs and make $5 for my trouble.

    Shame about the Census mismanagement. It’s a useful thing I think, although they could probably have just asked Google and got all the info they wanted. Or the DSD.

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