A clear message to the ANC, plus five talking points from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

05 November 2021 - 06:32 By TIMESLIVE
Voters sent a clear message to the ANC.
Voters sent a clear message to the ANC.
Image: Jeff Rankin

The voters have sent a clear message to the ANC: the party is no longer to be trusted, and it is likely to lose the general elections in 2024 if the status quo is maintained. 

The comprehensive stayaway vote and fragmentation of the ANC are symptoms of ordinary South Africans’ deep distrust of the political system. A recent Afrobarometer survey showed 67% of our citizens would be prepared to forgo elections if an unelected government could provide better security, houses and jobs. 

Nothing came of Cyril Ramaphosa’s promise 34 months ago to unite and transform the ANC. The divisions are as deep and as bitter as they were three years ago and very little has changed in the political culture of patronage, cadre deployment, corruption and poor management. 

Looking to the future, an alliance between the EFF and the ANC’s RET faction appears to be on the cards, possibly with smaller groups such as the ATM and PAC. The mainstream ANC under Ramaphosa’s leadership, however, will never belong in the same camp as the EFF. 

An umbrella grouping or new coalition with the Ramaphosa strand of the ANC will therefore have to include the mainstream DA and parties like the IFP and ActionSA. The question is whether the Freedom Front Plus would belong in this coalition. That probably depends on how deep the crisis is in 2024. 

A coalition or alliance between the Ramaphosa ANC, DA, IFP and smaller parties like FF Plus, ActionSA and Good Party will establish a new, solid middle ground that will probably gain the support of the majority of voters. The result will be the undermining of race, ethnicity and history as determinants of votes, which will be healthy for SA. 

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With the significant growth of the IFP (5.7% national support) in northern KwaZulu-Natal in particular, the DA’s 21% support and ActionSA’s strong performance barely a year after it was formed on the one hand, and the limited growth of the EFF and pathetic performance of exclusively black parties like ATM (0.58%) on the other, one can declare SA’s voters to be mainly moderate and tolerant. Exaggerated, cheap populism doesn’t work here; it only goes down well on social media.  

Ramaphosa’s RET opponents will try to use the ANC’s poor performance against him but party insiders know the party would have fared even worse without him. One can only hope the election results will convince Ramaphosa that his focus on party unity and resultant dithering have boomeranged; it is costing him, the party and country dearly.

As things stand, Ramaphosa appears to be the only national leader who can establish and lead a new coalition to strengthen the core of our politics and state.

Read the full column, and more news, analysis and interviews in this Friday's edition of Vrye Weekblad. 

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

FENCED! | South Africans from all races and classes are moving into gated communities to get away from crime and poor service delivery. Ironically, they are building new jails to provide them with the freedom they are after. 

GENE RECIPE | The editing of a species' genetic “recipe” can reduce illness and death, increase agricultural production, help end hunger and lead to fewer greenhouse gases being released. And yet a dark cloud of suspicion and ignorance hangs over it. 

LOCKED UP, AGAIN | Large parts of Europe had to hastily bring back some form of lockdown to prevent a fourth Covid-19 wave from hitting them. In summer, scientists still said this would be “unlikely”, but here we are again. 

MSGEEZ THAT'S LEKKER!  | Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, has had a bad reputation for decades. But it's making a loud and proud comeback, and even some top chefs are using it to add some umami to their dishes. 

SEX IN THE FREE STATE IN THE OLD DAYS | We tell the story of the “Sexcelsior” scandal – when a Free State town hit the international news headlines in the 1970s – and of how, for the victims of the Immorality Act, the past doesn't want to die down.