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Nelson Mandela’s party is falling apart

largeNdivi Mkhez Walking through her unfinished home in Cato Crest, an impoverished area of ​​Durban, South Africa’s third largest city. The concrete blocks were wet from the rain falling from the roofless rooms. Finishing the half-built house is the task of her husband, Siyabonga Mkhize. But he was shot dead in October 2021 while he was out running for the ANC (African National Congress), the ruling party of South Africa. It was too late to take his name off the ballot, so he was hunted down. In March, a by-election to find a living replacement was won by another African National Congress Candidate, Mzi Ngiba. Two months later, Mr Ngiba was one of four people arrested for the murder of his predecessor. (All deny the allegations.) “He was a good man,” Ms. Mkhize said of her husband. “But he chose to be a African National Congress politician. ”

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Stories like Mr. Mkhize’s are surprisingly common. From 2000 to 2021, there have been at least 418 political assassinations, most of them in the past seven years.These usually involve competition for positions ancThese murders are an extreme consequence of what it – and the country it rules – has become. The political parties that fought apartheid are now patronage machines cloaked in revolutionary rhetoric. Killing for a lucrative political job is perfectly rational in a state where almost half of black South Africans are unemployed and crimes go unpunished.

South Africans have had doubts over Cyril Ramaphosa’s future for the past fortnight.The president took office in 2018 promising to reduce graft, but a report by a panel of judges concluded there was enough evidence of his wrongdoing CongressmanLet’s consider impeaching him. The scandal is linked to the theft of at least $580,000 by unknown criminals from Mr. Ramaphosa’s game farm. Someone asked where the money came from and why it was hidden in the sofa. Mr Ramaphosa’s vast fortune, earned legally, has surprised many with so much cash on his estate.President Says He Did Nothing Wrong, Dec. 13 Most People Congressmans voted against his impeachment, with few exceptions African National Congress MPs stick to the party line.

“Farmgate” is an episode in a wider story, the next chapter of which begins on December 16, when African National Congress Meet to elect its leaders. The story is one of self-destruction by the ruling party and collateral damage to South Africa.

this African National Congress Founded in 1912 to oppose the exploitation and expropriation of black Africans. In 1948, its arch-nemesis, the Kuomintang, came to power and instituted apartheid, a system of racial discrimination that clearly favored whites. African National Congress Leaders, including Nelson Mandela, have occasionally organized violent opposition. The party was outlawed in 1960, and its members were driven underground or exiled.Thirty years later, when white South Africans grew tired of being global pariahs, the apartheid regime removed all rights reserved. anc. Once black South Africans were given the right to vote, the party became the government. Mandela preached reconciliation and “a better life for all”.

some tracking African National CongressIts past mismanagement. During its dark years of underground activity or exile, vulnerable to infiltration by apartheid spies and assassins, it developed a culture of secrecy, paranoia and irresponsibility as a survival mechanism. These characteristics are hardly a recipe for good or clean governance. “We believe African National Congress will be the torchbearers of the revolution and clean up the apartheid mess,” said anti-apartheid activist Protas Madlala. “Instead, they’re just looking after themselves. “

But “rot is not inevitable”, argues Kgalema Motlanthe, African National Congress A veteran who briefly served as president between Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. He acknowledged that leaders since Mandela – including Mr Mbeki, Mr Ramaphosa and himself – have not done enough to stop graft. Mr Mbeki abstractly denounces looting and the materialism of newly rich blacks, but does little to stop it. He was encouraged by his desire to create a black middle class by “deploying” party members to public jobs. Corruption has reached new heights since Mr Zuma became president.Pundits speak of ‘state capture’: organized looting of public funds anc Big guys.

The rot that started at the top has spread downward. Deadly battles have raged over political posts over the power to award bids to cronies. “People who joined African National Congress They are doing this now not because they want to help others, but to pursue personal ambitions and business opportunities,” said Nhlakanipho Ntombela, who heads the Election Commission African National Congress In KwaZulu-Natal, responsible for asking people to vote for the party.

There was a time when corruption accompanied the improvement of the lives of ordinary South Africans. The murder rate, a proxy for violent crime, fell by more than half between 1995 and 2011. Unemployment fell for most of the 2000s.this African National Congress A basic welfare state was created, providing millions of homes and cash benefits for mothers and the elderly.

But over the past decade, corruption has exploded and living conditions have gotten worse. Real incomes of the top 5 percent are growing more than twice as fast as the economy as a whole. For others, they stagnate or rise only slightly. The murder rate is rising again. South Africans are spending twice as much time in the dark as usual due to the 2022 blackouts. Half of the tap water is lost through broken pipes. The state has all but abdicated many of its responsibilities. Those who can afford it generate their own electricity and pay for private schools, health insurance and security. Or they emigrate. “Today, the public African National Congress,” Mr Motlanthe said. “Slogans and ideologies only count if basic needs are met. “

Supporters of Mr Ramaphosa argue that if re-elected African National Congress President, who will lead the “renaissance” of the party.They also point out that his narrow victory at the last party convention has hampered his presidency from the start; he has few allies African National CongressIts national executive committee, including a Politburo (though ruthless but not as efficient as the term implies) among its “power six”. If he wins convincingly this time, the president will have more time in office. Allies say his strengthening of institutions such as the state prosecutor’s office shows that he is a reformist at heart.

Mr Ramaphosa, for all his faults, he is the best African National Congress A leader the country can look forward to. His main rival, Zweli Mkhize, has been implicated in a scam involving the theft of funds to fight covid-19. Paul Mashatier, who is running for the party’s vice-chairmanship, has shown little he will improve.

However, “updating” is not possible for several reasons. Mr Ramaphosa is a cautious man who would set up a committee to decide what to have for breakfast.Despite weakening of Mr Zuma’s aides, several nominated NEC Facing corruption charges. Top-six positions are not won by serious reformers, because such people are nowhere to be found. They will likely be filled by nominees from provincial power tycoons.

Their growing influence reflects the African National Congress It is increasingly becoming a rural party. As a result, it pampered “traditional leaders” and appeased provincial party leaders. In return, these bigwigs want favorable policies (“special economic zones” are popular) and high positions. They don’t want updates; they want transactions.

Perhaps most importantly, African National Congress Increasingly inconsistent with modern South Africa. It lacks a democratic internal culture and personal accountability of its leaders. It makes little distinction between party and state. “The party’s history renders it incapable of governing a liberal democracy,” Ralph Mathekga wrote in his book, The African National Congressthe last decade of the African National Congress In its current state, South Africa’s constitution is not very suitable. ”

this African National Congress is falling. Its share of the vote fell from 66% in the 2009 general election to 58% in 2019. It won less than 50 percent of the vote in national municipal elections last year. Asked how the party has performed in by-elections since then, Mr Ntumbera pauses to say: “We’re broken.” Mr Ramaphosa remains more popular than his party.if he doesn’t lead African National Congress Going into the next election, that could hasten the party’s decline.In a recent poll by the Social Research Foundation think tank, 48% of people African National Congress Voters say Mr Ramaphosa is “very important” to their support for the party (see chart). Even if he does lead, the party is likely to win less than half of the vote in a general election for the first time.

the party is over

the decline of African National Congress Evoked mixed emotions in South Africans. Few will mourn its collapse. However, many fear what will happen next. There are two main risks. First of all, in the short term, if Ramaphosa is ousted, the corrupt faction in the party will take the opportunity to plunder. Second, in the medium term, focus on what is likely to happen as South Africa enters a new era of coalition politics. (Under its proportional representation system, this is almost inevitable if no party wins a majority.) Coalition can mean compromise and pragmatism. But, as has already been the case in many city governments, they could also mean more people at the bottom.

Back in Durban, Mr Madlala, an analyst of political killings, explains his views on African National CongressIn the 1980s, he was the first black man in South Africa to legally marry a white woman, an American whom he had met as a student in Washington. Hundreds of people gathered near the church to wish them well. The next few years were difficult: the couple was forced to live in a shack in the “Black Quarter”. When their first child was born, his wife had to wrap the baby in a blanket to hide his dark skin if she went to a place reserved for white people. But it appears to be the beginning of a new era, both personally and politically. “It doesn’t exist anymore — the parties we used to have,” he says now. “Let them lose. I won’t cry.”

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