2014 is the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s independence, and is also an election year. Although South African politicians often describe the country as a “rainbow nation,” is the term really more than rhetoric used in an attempt to pacify those who speak about persisting inequalities and rampant corruption?
Today’s African National Congress (ANC) is a far cry from the radical, revolutionary group that fought for independence. 20 years after the ANC rose to power, legislative changes have not necessarily translated into racial or class equality for South Africa. Black South Africans suffer from increasing rates of unemployment, and maternal mortality rates have quadrupled under ANC leadership.
Incumbent President Jacob Zuma has at best, a questionable record as head of state; his most recent abuse of power blowing R208 million (USD18.5 million) of public funds to pimp out his private residence in Nkandla. While City Press calls Nkandla “the village at the centre of South Africa’s election,” the votes of President Zuma’s disenfranchised neighbors will most likely not sway the election, despite Julius Malema’s wishful thinking that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will win this year’s election; and the ANC’s declining support.
Despite the corruption and inequality that has continued to characterize South Africa under ANC leadership, it’s unrealistic to think that an opposition can group can win this year’s election, especially after the implosion of the coalition formed between the Democratic Alliance and Agang SA; under which Mamphela Ramphele would’ve run as the presidential candidate.
But who knows? Maybe all the political analysts are wrong, and an opposition group will win and wave a magic wand and erase all of South Africa’s systemic problems. One can dream, anyway.