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‘Corruption crackdown by ANC boosts election prospects’

The ANC Wednesday suspended Ace Magashule, a top official who’s facing charges including money laundering and fraud.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa’s ruling party is cracking down on leaders implicated in corruption, a move that may help it woo back disgruntled voters and reclaim control of several key cities in local government elections in October.

The African National Congress on Wednesday suspended Ace Magashule, a top official who’s facing charges including money laundering and fraud. His sidelining came a week after President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged the party needs to do more to combat graft that became endemic during his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s nine-year rule.

Internal polls conducted by the ANC show that corruption, rather than rampant unemployment and inequality, tops the list of voter concerns, said Fikile Mbalula, the party’s head of elections and a member of its decision-making National Executive Committee. Forcing Magashule to step aside should go some way to proving it’s serious about tackling the scourge.

“The ANC is faced with a choice to renew or die,” Mbalula said in an interview. “At some point we did veer away from good values and we are prepared to break with the past.”

The African National Congress resolved in 2017 that officials facing criminal charges should quit their posts. Its top leaders finally decided last month to implement the directive and suspend errant members who refuse to step aside. Bongani Bongo, an ANC lawmaker who previously served as Zuma’s state security minister, is among others in the firing line. He and Magashule both deny wrongdoing.

Founded in 1912, the ANC is Africa’s oldest political movement and led the fight against White-minority rule. It took power under Nelson Mandela in the first multiracial elections in 1994, and has secured an outright majority in every national vote since then.

The party was rocked by repeated corruption scandals during Zuma’s rule, and the government has since estimated that more than R500 billion ($35 billion) was stolen from its coffers. Disgruntlement over the looting saw the ANC lose control of Johannesburg, the economic hub, Tshwane, which includes the capital, Pretoria, and several other cities in the last municipal election in 2016.

The party’s fortunes have picked up since it forced Zuma from office in 2018 and replaced him with Ramaphosa. It reclaimed power in Johannesburg after an opposition coalition unraveled, and its share of the vote ticked up in national polls in 2019.

Magashule, who as ANC secretary-general oversaw the day-to-day running of the party, has repeatedly undermined Ramaphosa’s authority. His exit should help the president consolidate his control over the ANC and give him greater leeway to implement economic reforms needed to revive the coronavirus-battered economy.

Rand gains

The rand strengthened as much as 0.8% against the dollar on Wednesday after news of Magashule’s suspension broke, outperforming all emerging-market peers except Brazil’s real. Bonds reversed declines, with yields on benchmark 10-year securities falling two basis points.

The ANC plans to focus on door-to-door campaigning for the October vote, because of limitations on large gatherings imposed due to the coronavirus, according to Mbalula. The party aims to win outright majorities in all the main cities because coalition governments aren’t optimal, but it is prepared to work with any opposition party should the need arise, he said.

The ruling party could be hamstrung by a lack of funds — it owes millions of rand to the national tax agency and other creditors — and its ability to raise new money could be hindered by new public disclosure rules. Its relationship with labor unions and the South African Communist Party, which have backed it in prior elections, has also been strained by the government’s attempts to pare back spending and freeze civil-servant wages.

Read: Ramaphosa tightens hold on ANC with suspension of Magashule

© 2021 Bloomberg


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If more than 45% of people (voters) still vote for the ANC, then this country is doomed.

The people get the government they deserve

There is no real opposition with a stable / non-radical track-record. For the time being we better hope that more than 45% of voters vote for ANC!

What are the alternatives for a black South Africans, particularly those belonging to the poor or working class?

The DA is still viewed as a party vested in middle class (and for many, white) interests. We could argue endlessly on whether or not that is the case but it is irrelevant: For the majority of black South Africans the DA is not a party they feel represents their interests. Whatever hope they had of changing that ended with Maimane.

So the alternatives for a black voter disillusioned with the ANC is what? The tribalistic ANC-lite IFP? Extreme nationalist EFF? Dead-in-the-water COPE? Personality-cult GOOD?

The political landscape in South Africa is, quite frankly, dire. Even amongst the “educated middle class” we see race-based politics at the forefront and when race isn’t being questioned voters usually vote on vague notions such as “who is the least corrupt” or “I voted DA because they run Cape Town well”. How many non-party DA voters can actually tell you what the DA’s policies regarding the environment are? Or what their overall plans for the economy are? Hint: Not many.

“Stop voting ANC” isn’t the silver bullet people think it is, not while the DA remains alien to most poor black South Africans and the rest of the political parties are a veritable circus-show.

Very well put.

Under Maimane, support for the DA *fell*. So much for you “analysis”

No matter how you spin it, South Africans have to choose between the corruptheid racism of the ANC-EFF nexus or the social-market non-racism of the DA, there simply are no other viable parties or realistic choice.

The number of registered voters (eligibles who took the trouble to find a voting station of IEC office and register) who abstained nearly equalled the ANC vote in 2019,when the ANC majority in Gauteng was less than 1% [see IEC website]

I laughed when I read this…

Suspended for 6 months… Wont the election be over in exactly 6 months time? hmmm

How many arrests and jail terms?

Mbalula hits the nail on the head when he says the ANC must “renew or die”.

What we tend to forget is that the ANC started from very diverse groups that were united by nothing more than their ambition to be free from White rule. (Remember that all the assegaais and spears and even armies the tribes had before the Whites came was because they were fighting each other for ages and NOT Europeans. It is just that they suddenly had this common enemy.)

The ANC is still one party but still with many opposing views within the same party, but no longer with the same enemy to unite them – although they will try to get more mileage out of the ‘injustices of the past’ for as long as possible.

So we sit with a ‘democracy within a democracy’ as a party with infighting rules the country.

So, IF there are any ‘good’ people in the ANC leadership it will be extremely difficult for them to change the party in to a government that will actually be to the country’s benefit. Whoever can achieve that will have a legacy to be proud of indeed. Until then, the economy will NOT be on a road to recovery. More and more will be spent on grants and less and less money will be available for jobs that enable service delivery and the tax base will keep shrinking.

Love your comedy section $Web!! Bravo

Ah, let me guess, its time to vote again or soon, isn’t it? Is it any wonder that we are seeing lipstick being put on a pig? It’s time to come up with some of those catchy political marketing slogans like: ‘Batho-pele’, ‘Masakhane’, and so on. Do you still remember, the likes of ‘A Better Life for All’ and ‘Jwale ke Nako’? Our poeple are waiting ‘tot nou, nog.’

The message I get seems to be, ‘don’t get caught and charged, we can’t help you then. Otherwise shay’i’nto yakho (do your thing!!!). Its hardly inspiring confidence. We see this kind of ‘spin’ every so many years, and go right back to, ‘things as usual’ until the next elections.

End of comments.





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