Thursday, October 30

Andrew at Southern Cross links to a fascinating piece by Juli Kilian of the 'New' National Party (As in the reformed party that brought us Apartheid).

Andrew then publishes comment by Robert Evans (no link), who makes the following arguments:
1. The DP has lost all credibility.
2. A strong opposition is required for a strong democracy.
3. The NNP has no hope of influencing the ANC, with which it is in alliance.
4. There are no real alternatives to the ANC at present.
5. That the only real alternative to the ANC will be an 'ANC reloaded'.

A black-led party that is designed to address the social and economic concerns of our generation. Not one based on years of history and suffering, but one motivated specifically by the challenges of today - globalisation, education, employment, economic growth, AIDS, human rights, environmental awareness etc

I agree with Mr Evans on points 1 through 4. On 5 I differ. It is not 'ANC reloaded', but rather 'Will the real ANC please stand up'.

The ANC is a political leviathan. It represents the freedom that we have achieved as surely as the NNP represents the country we left behind (New or not). How can any party realistically compete against this, less then 10 years after the end of apartheid?

Political debate in South Africa is taking place within ANC structures, and not in parliament. This is a natural consequence of the majority which the ANC holds. The schrillness of the Democratic Alliance can certainly be seen as a symptom of how powerless they are to influence government, except through public opinion.

The ANC is allied with the Unions, the communist party and the New National party. None of these parties can hope to carry any weight on their own in any election, but within ANC structures they do. The road to power for them lies through the ANC, and if they can wrest control of the ANC from within, then government can be theirs.

It is therefore in the ranks of the ANC that the battle of the future of South Africa is being fought, not in parliament. The Hefer commission has so far been the most public display of this fight.

There are certainly many factions within the ANC. The current government of Thabo Mbeki can however certainly be qualified as moderates, who have what I feel the true vision of the ANC at its heart.
If South Africa is to be a strong democracy, then it will be up to the ANC to divest itself of the leeches and to move the true debate over the future of this country away from the ANC to parliament and the ballot box. This is a hard thing to do for a century old revolutionary party with less then 10 years in power. The question is when will the political costs become too much to bear for the true ANC.

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