helen Zille, leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance and mayor of Cape Town, charged the African National Congress(ANC) was divided as the old National Party of apartheid days, between the “verligtes” and the “verkramptes.” The former were those who wanted to reform apartheid and possible even end it, while the latter wanted to continue the cruel policies of apartheid. “The ANC, after only 14 years, is showing the same schism. It is also divided between its verligtes who support constitutional rule, and its verkramptes who want to subordinate the Constitution to the pursuit of power.” She drew attention to remarks by ANC leader, Jacob Zuma, who said openly that the ANC was more important than the Constitution. Zuma is charged with corruption and could wind up in jail, but Zille believes his supporters will do everything possible to avert this possibility since the ends justify the means.
Zille insists every liberation movement goes through the same cycle of power. “Liberation struggles are about attaining power. Constitutional democracy is about limiting power. Very few activists who have engaged in liberation struggle understand this distinction.” Those who fight to attain power equate their power with furthering the ideas of the struggle and any attempt to limit power is thus regarded as counter-revolutionary.
Zille is seeking to create a new political alignment in South Africa in which ANC believers in constitutionalism will join forces with other groups such as the Democratic Alliance in order to create a new South Africa which is based on respect for constitutional law. South Africa needs a new political vision if it is to pursue the road of democracy.
South African President Thabo Mbeki who has been attacked for his lack of leadership in dealing with the anti-foreign riots which have swept his nation, is now being forced to confront questions about present handling the crisis. Two weeks have passed during which time rioters have attacked immigrants, burned their shacks, and, in some cases, killed these innocent people, but the president of the nation apparently has other things to do than visit scenes of the violence and offer reassurance to the afflicted. According to Olmo von Meijenfeldt, of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, “a strong appeal to the South African people from the president would be very welcome indeed.”‘ He noted Mbeki has a distant style of leadership, and he is not the sort of man “to put himself in the forefront.”
Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils admitted the government knew tensions were growing. “Of course we were aware there was something brewing. It is one thing to know there is a social probelm and another thing to know when that outburst will occur.” Of course, it was no secret there were tensions over foreigners getting jobs in a nation which has extensive poverty, but that was even more cause to take proactive measures to head off the problem.
Moesties Mbeki, the president’s own brother believes “the current government has lost its credibility.” His brother failed to exert leadership during the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe and his comment that no crisis existed made him the laughing stock of Africa.
The African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma will most probably become the next president of South Africa. Unless he initiates vast programs to deal with poverty, there will be other riots in the coming years.
The African National Congress has asked President Mbeki to appoint its deputy president, Kgalema Motianthe, to Parliament. Motianthe is a left-wing intellectual who is an ally of Jacob Zuma, president of the ANC, but who faces criminal charges for money-laundering, fraud and raceteering in court. Zuma and Mbeki have been fighting over leadership of the ANC, and since Mbeki’s term as president soon ends there is need for a compromise candidate if Zuma is convicted of the charges. The ANC dominance in South Africa ensures its candidate will be elected president next year.
Zuma has aroused anxiety among South African busness leaders due to his inflammatory rhetoric and his close ties with labor unions so there is need for someone who can maintain stability and prevent creating a financial crisis in South Africa. The last thing the African continent needs is another Zimbabwe economic fiasco.