After Nelson Mandela assumed power as president of South Africa, the African National Congress became the dominant power in the nation’s political operation. Whites represented less than 10% of the population which meant the ANC’s candidate would always be victorious. President Mbeki has ruled for eight years and while the nation has progressed economically, the growth in crime and fears the ANC’s candidate, Jacob Zuma might take a radical approach to politics has frightened large sectors of the electorate. The Zuma wing of the ANC forced Mbeki to resign, and this has now resulted in a division within the ANC that stands to benefit the development of democracy in South Africa.
The ANC presently obtains nearly 70% of the vote which means it does not have to pay any attention to minority parties. Former Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota electrified the nation when he proposed to establish a new political party from those who disagree with the views of Zuma. Lekota charged the Zuma ANC has “abandoned principles like equality before the law.”
The good news is a divided ANC means minority parties now have an opportunity to play a role in the formation of governments. It means the end of a single party gaining nearly 70% of the vote and ignoring those in opposition. Hopefully, out of the division will emerge a stronger and more democratic South Africa.