A betrayal of Mandela’s Legacy?
June 4, 2024

A betrayal of Mandela’s Legacy?

South Africa was the shining hope of all of Africa after the legendary Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress (ANC) to not only smash apartheid and white racist rule by a minority, but also to establish a democratic state in 1994. It now finds itself in a situation where it might take political horse-trading to form a new government.

This follows the results of the latest elections in that country on May 29. Those results revealed that no party won an absolute majority to enable it to form a government in the National Assembly. The ANC, a liberation movement with over 100 years experience, and which has governed the country since Mandela led it to an historic victory in 1994 with over 60% of the votes cast, and which had conquered the bullets of the white minority, could this time not gain the ballots of the majority of the South African people.

The 40% of votes in favour of the ANC reflected a shameful decline in its fortunes. Following Mandela’s ground-breaking triumph in 1994, even after Mandela’s voluntary retirement the ANC’s share of total votes cast went up to over 70% in 2004. Since then, it has gone into steady decline. Additionally, there has also been an increasing fall-off in voter turnout, dropping to just over 58 per cent this time. In 1999 the voter turnout was over 90%.

So, what has caused this? How could this beacon of hope, not just for South Africa, but for Africa and the rest of the formerly colonized world, reach that stage? Has the unparalleled sacrifice of the anti-apartheid fighters been in vain to leave their country victim of backroom politics so typical of western countries?

South Africa not only has tremendous natural resources, but under apartheid rule was able to build a strong industrial base. If justice and sound leadership is provided South Africa can lead Africa and the rest of the developing world into reclaiming our rightful place in the world.

Sadly, those who followed Mandela got mired in a web of corruption, personal enrichment and neglect of the needs of the South African black population. The conditions of poverty, crime, hopelessness and homelessness in the black townships are among the worst in the world. It is therefore no wonder disaffection set in so readily among the people and the image of the once-proud ANC has been dragged in the dust.

The ANC is now shopping for a partner or partners just like any prostitute in a brothel. It has very difficult choices. Behind it in the polls came the white-dominated

Democratic Alliance, a party wedded to capitalist development which got 21% of the votes. Behind it were two offshoots of the ANC itself, the MK party led by Jacob Zuma, a former leader of the ANC who was forced to resign from the presidency because of widespread corruption, and then the Economic Freedom

Fighters whose leader Julian Malema was once head of the ANC’s Youth Section, but who resigned accusing the ANC leadership of betraying the party’s legacy.

It is a shame that it should come to this in South Africa.

Whatever the results of the horse-trading, the ANC must concentrate on building a new leadership, committed to the party’s original ideals and mandate. Mandela must be squirming in his grave.