The crisis of the African National Congress


La Marx International

The African National Congress (ANC), the political party that has governed South Africa for 30 years, is going through a serious crisis. This organization that was headed by Nelson Mandela suffered a brutal drop of 35% of the votes, more than 3,500,000 South Africans who withdrew their support for the government led by Cyril Ramaphosa, fed up with the hunger, poverty, and inequality of capitalist South Africa

In the elections held on May 29, 2024, more than 42% of the population, 11,491,925 South Africans, did not turn out to vote, a historic mass of abstention for post-apartheid South Africa, which is part of the "abstentionist wave" that is sweeping the world. Out of 27,782,081 people eligible to vote, the ANC government obtained only 6,455,994 votes, only 23%, leaving the Ramaphosa government and the ANC in a situation of extreme weakness, which forced Ramaphosa to carry out an agreement with the capitalist Democratic Alliance (AD) party, the second electoral force headed by John Steenhuisen that obtained 3,501,528 votes.

The agreement between the ANC and AD has formed a Government of National Unity (GNU) that constitutes a blow to the illusions of those who still have expectations of the ANC government, and constitutes one of the most important episodes in the crisis of the world left. The disillusionment in the ANC highlights that reformist and social democratic policies do not serve the interests of the workers and the people as a result of the fact that they are political forces defending capitalism.

From the defeat of apartheid to the defence of South African millionaires

The ANC became known worldwide when the people of South Africa defeated the infamous apartheid regime of racial segregation that was in place between 1948 and 1992. Nelson Mandela and the ANC became highly regarded world leaders for defending the rights of millions of black people who suffered from a horrific regime that disenfranchised them in favor of the white oligarchy that dominated the country. Mandela suffered many years in prison and the ANC was banned and had to go underground, but after the defeat of apartheid, the ANC went on to rule the country for 30 years with the governments of Mandela, Mbeki, Motlanthe, Zuma, and now Ramaphosa.

Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC leader and president of South Africa
Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC leader and president of South Africa

The ANC emerged as a reformist, social-democratic force, but a defender of capitalism. It aroused enormous expectations of social change among the poorest and most oppressed in the country, but after 30 years of ANC governments, South Africa is the most unequal country in the world and the racial aspect is one of the determining factors, in a society where 10% of the population owns more than 80% of the wealth, according to World Bank reports. "South Africa, the largest country in the SACU (Southern African Customs Union), is the most unequal country in the world in a list of 164 countries," the institution said in a report titled "Inequalities in Southern Africa."

Previous reports coincided in placing the African country in first place in that category, but 30 years after the end of apartheid, "race continues to be a key factor in high inequality in South Africa due to its impact on education and the labor market," the World Bank said, while the racial factor is responsible for 41% of income inequality and 30% in education. Other Southern African countries such as Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia rank high on the list, making the region the most unequal in the world, according to the institution.

However, during these 30 years of ANC rule, while millions sank into poverty, some of Africa's most important millionaires emerged, such as Christo Wiese, Johann Rupert, Nicky Oppenheimer, Patrice Motsepe, Koos Bekker and Michiel Le Roux. Most of them appear on the Forbes list of millionaires with gigantic fortunes, while the people suffer from unemployment, poverty, and lack of opportunities. This unjust situation opened a crisis in the ANC based on a growing disillusionment of the workers and the people who have seen their living standards fall in the last 30 years, which explains the drop in support that the ANC has suffered in the last elections, which forced Ramaphosa to seek a government agreement with the Democratic Alliance (AD) party. led by white and pro-business leaders who defend capitalism.

Let's defeat the GUN of Ramaphosa and Steenhuisen!

Will he be "a good or a bad son"? has been a joke that has circulated in South Africa in the last two weeks, playing on the initials of the Government of National Unity. While the capitalist political parties began to negotiate agreements to establish the GUN, the workers and the people have shown their frustration and rupture with the ANC. We should expect nothing from the Ramaphosa - Steenhuisen government, it is an enemy government of the workers and the people established to defend the interests of the richest 1% of capitalist South Africa.

The break of millions with the ANC is a positive step, an advance in the consciousness of the workers and the people with the social democratic reformism that is functional to capitalism. The crisis of the ANC is part of the global crisis of the left that is rejected by the workers and peoples of the world for supporting and integrating capitalist coalitions and governments. This treacherous, imperialist and capitalist left consolidates racism and the exploitation of the South African people, and is therefore rejected. Nor is the movement of Julius Malema, of the Fighters for Economic Freedom, an alternative that is a movement that places itself to the left of the ANC to capitalize on its crisis, but refuses to fight for a workers' and people's government.

From La Marx International we support all the struggles that the people of South Africa will carry out against the Ramaphosa - Steenhuisen government. Along with this, we salute all those comrades who have turned their backs on the leaders of the ANC, and we call for the worldwide regroupment of revolutionaries to fight for a socialist South Africa, on the road to global socialism.

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