The ANC Will Die

The only question is when.


Liberation movements do not generally survive. This will also be true of the ANC.

I recently read Albert Luthuli’s autobiography, Let My People Go, which detailed this moral titan’s involvement in the struggle.

Intriguingly, Luthuli did not believe the ANC would one day govern South Africa. He was of the opinion that the ANC would have to form smaller political parties out of the various ideological factions which were working together under their auspices.

He constantly refers to the ANC as ‘Congress’, as though it were a parliament for the struggle rather than a government-in-waiting.

But after Luthuli, perhaps under the influence of their overseas communist allies, the ANC came to see itself as a kind of revolutionary movement, destined to be at the heart of South African society forever.

By making themselves the centre of changing South Africa, they created a situation in which critiquing themselves became very difficult. Members are not really allowed to question policy or their leaders.

Like a Communist Party, they see themselves at the centre of an unfolding political dialectic. They are the measure of progress, rather than a temporal body serving an external measure of justice and good politics.

This has made them unresponsive to dealing with corruption in their ranks – which extends right to the top.

They remain an enormously popular party, but, as an analyst, I would look to an inability to reform themselves, coupled with major decline in their urban electorate in major cities, as key indicators they will fall as the ruling party sooner rather than later.

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Already they seem to have lost Johannesburg and Tshwane, in addition to Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town.

The next step is to lose Gauteng to the DA in the provincial elections in 2019, and then Limpopo to the EFF perhaps.

If that happens, look to the DA becoming the party of the cities and the black middle class. That may be enough to win the presidency by 2024.

While this would not be a magic bullet for South Africa, it would at least hold out the hope for a normal politics where we stop treating political allegiance like a kind of tribal or religious identity.