German Magazine Spiegel says: South Africa Has Become a De Facto One-Party State

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Original Post Date: 2009-05-01 Time: 14:00:02 Posted By: JoAn

[I’m delighted to see such a top notch German magazine just telling it as it is. Of course, S.Africa was a one party state since 1994 – even when Mandela and Mbeki were at the helm, so the West is realising the truth a bit too late. However, better late than never. At least now, at a high and influential level the West realises that South Africa is: COMPLETELY SCREWED UP WITH NO HOPE! Yeah, that just about sums it up. (Of course the Whites in SA had warned decades ago this would happen but nobody ever listened to a thing they said!)

Thanks for this Hennie, and thanks for posting it JoAn. Jan]

Submitted by Hennie:

The ANC has massively triumphed in this week’s South African election and controversial party leader Jacob Zuma is set to take the reins in the turbulent country. German commentators worry that South Africa might be headed toward the type of one-party rule that has ruined countries like Zimbabwe.

The African National Congress (ANC) has swept the fourth post-apartheid election in South Africa, promising to elevate its controversial party leader, Jacob Zuma, to the presidency at a time when the country faces massive difficulties on a number of fronts.

Although final results are only expected to be released later Friday, preliminary poll numbers indicate that the party has won 67.08 percent of the vote in an election that saw a record 77 percent voter turnout. The party was trailed in the polls by the largely white opposition Democratic Alliance party (15.45 percent) and the Congress of the People party (7.54), which broke off from the ANC in 2008. If the ANC succeeds in winning two-thirds of the vote, it will be in a position to implement its agenda unimpeded.

“This party is an elephant. You cannot actually topple an elephant,” Zuma told throngs of cheering supporters gathered outside ANC headquarters in Johannesburg Thursday evening. The crowd was clad in the yellow, green and black colors of the ANC, and some supporters bore fake coffins decked with the pictures of opposition leaders.

The vote signals a major victory for Zuma, who has weathered a number of court cases and political infighting to wrest the party mantle from former ANC head Thebo Mbeki and put himself in line to become South Africa’s next president. The court cases have included charges of being involved in an arms deal bribery scandal and of raping the 31-year-old daughter of a family friend. Zuma was ultimately acquitted of the latter charge and the bribery charges were also recently dropped.

When Zuma assumes office, he will be forced to confront the massive problems currently facing the nation, which is plagued by rampant crime, widespread poverty, high unemployment rates and an AIDS epidemic that is estimated to claim over 300,000 lives each year in South Africa.

Ccommentators writing in Germany’s main newspapers Friday are worried that the ANC’s landslide victory will turn South Africa into a one-party state. They also express concern that Zuma might install his loyalists in positions of power, rather than people more qualified to lead the nation through its troubled circumstances.

The center-left S(252)üddeutsche Zeitung writes:

“Now that Zuma has to govern, he will no longer be able to portray himself as a victim. Now he will be measured by what he and his team do to battle poverty, a task that will make the election campaign look easy in comparison. The global financial crisis will present Zuma with huge challenges. Capital is tight all over the world, and South Africa has also seen a collapse in growth. If the new president tries to launch an offensive against poverty now, he will only be able to do so in small steps. The important thing for him to do is to fight negligence, ineptitude and corruption at all levels, as these things have been either slowing or completely blocking progress. Is Zuma capable of waging these battles when he is suspected of being corrupt himself?”

Zuma might have succeeded in capturing the votes of the populace, but he still has a long way to go when it comes to building trust abroad and in business circles. The best way for him to do this is to appoint capable individuals to positions in his cabinet instead of just those he wants to reward for their political loyalty. Now he has to hold at bay all of those who are loudly clamoring for a post just because they supported him during the campaign. If he can do that, he will have already won his first battle.”

The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes:

“For the ANC, Zuma means a break from its long-established inferiority complex in relation to South Africa’s whites. He embodies a new self-confidence … that, on a basic level, immensely benefits South African society. What remains unclear, however, is what it means in political terms. Will Zuma be like Chavez or Gadhafi and turn his country into an African troublemaker? One fact that suggests this won’t happen is that he has nourished ties with the nouveau-riche ANC elite, which has amassed a lot of economic power during 15 years in government and which can’t afford to let South Africa become isolated internationally. Will he continue with the ANC’s policies of incremental change? One thing that might lead you to think not is the doggedness he has shown in fighting his way to the top of the ANC as well as the radicalism of his political friends, ranging from Winnie Mandela to the communists.”

“Zuma would do South Africa some good if he doesn’t make it wait to see how its new leader will solve this mystery. And, after such a polarizing election campaign, it is really important for those with political power — not least the ANC — to express what they want to do. The fact that the election is over doesn’t mean that the time for an open discussion about South Africa’s political future is past. Instead, it has just begun.”

The conservative Die Welt writes:

“It’s worth noting that, within not much time at all, two new opposition parties were formed — a liberal party in the cultural antipode of Cape Town (ed’s note: the Democratic Alliance) and a splinter party of the ANC. Other political forces are prevailing in South Africa, forces that know that democracy is not a gift but, rather, something that needs to be constantly worked for and cultivated. There’s no doubt now about whether Jacob Zuma will become the next president. But it is still unclear whether the ANC will get a two-thirds majority. A unity party born during a period of difficult transformation cannot survive in the long term — it will turn into an anti-democratic hegemony. The time is ripe for opposition; it is the salt in the soup we call democracy.”

The business daily Handelsblatt writes:

“With his absolute power, Robert Mugabe was able to turn Zimbabwe into a single-party state and to systematically do away with the rule of law. Today, what was once the continent’s shining example of a successful country has fallen into ruin. South Africa is still a long way from such circumstances. But that doesn’t rule out a certain degree of wariness. Much depends on whether the ANC will wield its power in the same way as its white predecessors — in other words, undiluted. Thabo Mbeki, Zuma’s predecessor in office, already centralized power in his person to an extreme extent and gave many key state positions … to his own entourage of loyalists.”

“Zuma has also displayed such tendencies. Despite his denials, as the leader of what has become a de facto one-party state, he looks like he will blur the distinction between the ANC and the South African state. … On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget that South Africa does owe some thanks to Zuma. In particular, Zuma was responsible for winning back a certain amount of freedom for South Africa’s weak civil society during his struggle with Mbeki.”

“Much will now depend on whether the new president surrounds himself with competent advisers or only with loyalists, as Mbeki did. One thing for sure is that, regardless of whether he gets a two-thirds majority or not, Zuma’s victory in the polls will make a clean break with the disastrous presidency of Thabo Mbeki, which — particularly in political terms — has left the country in shambles.”



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