It is one of the most famous political parties around the globe, and deservedly so. It pulled South Africa out of the jaws of apartheid in 1994, and steered it to democratization.
25 years on however, the African National Congress (ANC) risks becoming a shell of its former self. Its support base is declining and opposition outfits are annexing a larger chunk of the support base, chiefly because of the corruption allegations leveled against the senior members of the ruling party. These grounds pressured former president Jacob Zuma to step down in February 2018.
Though majority of the voters remain loyal to the independence party, that majority is shrinking by the day. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by the charismatic Julius Malema, is claiming an increasing portion of the vote base, and although it is not yet sufficient to topple the establishment, the trend should worry ANC strategists. That worry should then translate to a thorough internal review. The just concluded elections, where ANC garnered 57.5% of the total votes and the turnout was 66%, the lowest in the post-apartheid, indicated that people are losing interest in elections and confidence in governance. The gains made by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and EFF, which are expanding their presence across the country, threaten the ANC’s dominance. It will take just a few more blunders to usher in the end of an era for ANC.
Across Africa, populations are rising up against corrupt regimes. Unless president Cyril Ramaphosa gets the ANC’s act together and uses his fresh mandate to stem corruption, address land issues and create jobs, the legendary party will fall. A huge chunk of voters will progressively be young people who have a superficial link to ANC, so unless the government of the day solves their problems, support will not be granted. Coming from an ugly recent history of xenophobia, South Africa needs to solve domestic problems then repair the shattered image abroad.
The ANC may have won, but the figures do indicate a party that is continually losing a part of itself, and with no clear strategy on how to repair itself yet.