South Africa: Turmoil within the Ruling Party affects Economy

Tuesday 06th, March 2012 / 00:39 Written by

 At a press conference this Monday, the leaders of the ANC Youth League declared solidarity with their president, Julius Malema, who had been expelled from the party last week. The league will appeal the expulsion of Malema and is determined to take the matter as far as the ANC elective conference, which is to take place in Mangaung in December.

The Mail & Guardian quotes ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa :

We are determined and we won’t give up. If this costs us our membership then so be it. There is a saying that he who laughs last, laughs the best — the battle has now begun.”

The next president of the ANC – and thus, most probably, also the nation – will also be elected at the Mangauung conference. Jacob Zuma plans to be reelected, but will need the ANCYL’s votes to win against the likely contender, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

After Zuma’s state of the nation address in February, Richard Calland – Law Professor at the University of Cape Town, Acting Manager of Idasa’s Economic Governance Programme and columnist for the Mail & Guardian – had concluded his analysis of the power structure within the ANC:

Malema was probably the only significant threat and, without him on the scene to shake things up — to create the necessary disturbance that would unsettle the political balance of forces within the ANC, to catalyse opposition and to construct an anti-Zuma campaign of adequate velocity — it is hard to see how any challenger can mount a sufficiently powerful coalition to take on the incumbent at Mangaung in December.”

In a feature for yesterday, some three weeks after Calland had seen Malema off the scene, Isaac Mpho Mogotsi, Executive Director of the Centre of Economic Diplomacy In Africa (CEDIA), looks into the history of ANC leadership and comes to a rather different conclusion:

It [the ANCYL, ed.] has become an alternative power block within the ANC, ready to govern the country. The broad church that has for so long been the ANC, has now effectively, and to all intents and purposes, become, in all but name, a “two-parties” broad ANC church. One wing of the broad church is made up of social market proponents, the usual ANC conservatives, and a smattering of State power-hungry Stalinists. The ongoing ANC succession battles are fundamentally between this hegemonic ANC faction, which has rallied around President Jacob Zuma’s ambition for a second term, and the ANC ‘populist faction’ led by Julius Malema and the ANCYL,and which is now increasing supported by NUMSA [National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, a powerful trade union, ed.]. It is the latter constellation of forces that is the political basis of Julius Malema within the ANC, and which basis makes his Second Comeback from exile outside the ANC so very likely and plausible outcome at the ANC elective conference in Mangaung in December this year.”

Wall Street Journal looks into the implications not only for South Africa’s political, but also its economic future and paints a dark picture, despite the higher than expected growth numbers of the last quarter of 2011.

Both Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have lowered their outlooks for South Africa’s sovereign debt in the past four months, citing the government’s failure to address structural problems and political strife.”

On March 14, the ANCYL will lodge an appeal against the Malema ruling with the national disciplinary committee of appeals.

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