The 2009 general election will be the fourth time that South Africans will be enjoying the luxury to freely choose its leaders who will run national affairs for the next five years. Given the political domination of the ANC, the political system in South Africa has evolved into a one party system in which the ANC has emerged as the ruling party trampling underfoot an enfeebled and split opposition. The official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has not been able to pose a serious challenge to the ANC dominance.

new-anc2While previous elections were acid tests in determining how the country’s democracy wabeing nurtured and consolidated, the 2009 election will be even more fascinating given that political competition is likely to be even stiffer with the establishment of the Congress of the People (COPE) – a break-away splinter group from the ANC. The big question is how COPE will cope with the ANC’s dominance and how much political weight the ANC will shed as a result of this opposition party. It will also be interesting to observe whether in fact COPE is likely to eclipse the DA as the official opposition in parliament.

At its birth late last year, some pundits thought South Africa’s Congress of the People (COPE) might even draw enough support to prevent the ruling ANC winning a majority in next week’s election. Since then the splinter group of disgruntled senior ANC figures has seen its prospects ebb to the point that the only question is whether the ANC will win two-thirds of seats in parliament it needs to change the constitution at will. Estimates of COPE’s support range from five to 20 percent, according to a Nomura report. Its failure to gain more backing shows how difficult it has been to set up a party in just a few months on a shoe-string budget. Its opponent is the formidable and well-funded grassroots political machine that is the African National Congress (ANC), the movement that won the decades-long struggle against white minority rule.

The struggle for the South African number one seat is getting tougher, especially for the passage of the bill which grants South African in Diaspora the right to vote. Overseas South Africans voted on Wednesday a week ahead of elections likely to usher in five more years of rule by the ANC, whose stranglehold on power is raising fears of a slide towards permanent one-party state. In London, people waited up to two hours to cast their votes, with many expressing disapproval of the African National Congress (ANC), the former liberation movement that has run South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

However, the ANC, which still commands huge respect among ordinary blacks for its long fight against white minority rule, is likely to win the two-thirds parliamentary majority that will allow it to change the constitution at will. One thing however is clear; South Africa’s political horizon is set to be re-aligned after next week’s election



One Response

  1. I wish various party leadership would stop being so personal in their scurrilous attacks of those they Are running against – or trying to unseat. Why not run on your own merits as many of them are sorely lacking in substance.

    Who cares how many wives Jacob Zuma has. Did not King Subuza not have over 50 and still remain respected by the world? Or, are we to toe-the-line of total foreign western code of conduct when dealing with the social/cultural norms of Africa, India, Middle East, Asia Minor , Indonesia and beyond???

    We know full well that some of the so-called/self-proclaimed powerhouses of the west are unable to remain above the fray when it comes to holding fair elections)

    So what if Jacob Zuma is voting in as South Africa’s third standing president. Are our elections not fair – enabling all “within” it’s borders to a free – un-biased vote.

    If so many of South Africa’s naysayers want to exercise the Freedom of Speech right – do so at the ballot box – not by posting puerile posts on youtube and other reactionary “all-white” sites. You only look stupid!
    You and you fellow “Time Warp” cronies have become the laughing stock of the humanist minded folk of the outside world.

    What is truly sad, is that many of us abroad – who have given our “all” to The Struggle – have remained dedicated to the ideals set out in the Freedom Charter, have not been permitted our “unequivocal right” to vote – something that has to be seriously rectified.

    Proudly South African

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