Today: February 25, 2024

The tough decisions facing South Africa’s ANC

FILE - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa holds meet and greet with Philippi residents on the Cape Flats, a week before the African National Congress holds its national conference in Cape Town, Dec. 10, 2022.

The Kenyan elections have just concluded with the outcome now being contested in court. Kenyans should, up until this stage, be applauded for showing maturity and everyone hopes that the court process and outcome will be characterized by the same. Kenya has a huge influence on African politics and it is in everyone’s best interest to get it right.

With Zimbabwe’s elections in 2023, there is really nothing much to expect unless there are major political changes between now and voting time next. Zimbabwe elections are pretty much predictable and this is because those who have held on to power for 42 years have manufactured a useless political character both in their ranks and opposition parties. Zimbabwe’s politics lack seriousness. It is like theatre in the park.

Down south, things have been getting shaky with the African National Congress (ANC) set for their elective conference this year. Mr Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking a second term but the path to the December ANC congress has so far been murky and slippery. Mr Ramaphosa will need to survive several obstacles ahead of the congress as well as getting the support from his party. By his own admission, the ANC is at its weakest during his tenure. But he is also not a good grassroots mobiliser like former President Jacob Zuma.

It also does not help that he is accused of siding with the White Monopoly Capital, a tag he has struggled to shake off his shoulders. Or perhaps it is because he is part of the White Monopoly Capital. The Marikana massacre which resulted in the killing of thirty-four miners by the South African Police Service in August 2012 is another accusation has to deal with.

The massacre happened when Mr. Ramaphosa was both Vice President of South Africa and member of the Lonmin board that owns Marikana mine. It is alleged that in a message to fellow directors, he wrote: “The terrible events that have unfolded cannot be described as a labour dispute. They are plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterized as such… There needs to be concomitant action to address this situation.”

He later apologized for what he described as his actions in the run up to the Marikana massacre. Nonetheless, he managed to ascend to the apex of power in the ruling ANC and government of South Africa.

Assuming presidency in South Africa is not based on individual popularity but the party. So Mr. Ramaphosa did not need to please the electorate. The ANC carried the burden of doing so and assuring voters that they were still the party of choice even when Mr. Ramaphosa had a murky background.

Today, the same ANC carries the huge burden of either addressing the wanning support, changing its economic policy position to be more people oriented, boot Mr Ramaphosa as a liability and or sink. It is a touch choice where the economy and judiciary favour a candidate who is not favoured by the people. Politics is about the people and they feel neglected.

The writing on this was long on the wall after ANC managed only 45.6 per cent of votes in the local government elections. This was the worst ANC performance since 1994 and there is justifiable cause for alarm bells. The ANC have every reason to worry. It is either they survive the elections by getting back to the people or sink by aligning with the White Monopoly Capital to save the economy.

The ANC faces a huge headache ahead of the 2024 elections. But this headache can be addressed at their December congress, that is if at all it is possible. This is because politics in South Africa is more complex than most African countries.

At independence, the control of power was parceled into three segments namely; the economy, the judiciary and politics. The economic and judiciary power still lies in the hands of the White Monopoly Capital and this means that whatever politicians decide, as long as it is not in line with the interests of this group, it faces challenges.

This also means that if it is true that Mr. Ramaphosa is an implant of the White Monopoly Capital, then that limits ANC’s ability to make an alternative choices. Of all the allegations Mr Ramaphosa faces, they have not been met with the same rancour as his predecessor Mr Jacob Zuma. The Marikana issue, the questions around his campaign funding, the Phala Phala farm scandal and others should by now have ended his political career but he remains standing.

The fact that judiciary has not shown interest in holding Mr. Ramaphosa to account, may mean that the White Monopoly Capital is not ready to let him go. The mass demonstrations that took place in July last year should have dented the economy and his own standing but they did not – another indication that he enjoys some form of support elsewhere other than the people.

Not only that. The Democratic Alliance party has indicated that they would not support any initiative to recall Mr. Ramaphosa via parliament because that would mean Vice President Mr. David Mabuza would take over. This means that the ANC elective congress in December is not only going to be decided by the ANC as there are a lot of external influence and vested interests from the White Monopoly Capital. What makes it worse is that there are no strong alternative political parties at the moment so ANC must find ways to stay afloat and to bring back hope among South Africans.

This story was first published in NewsDay