Elections 2009: the ANC

Posted: April 2, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Continuing the theme of highlighting parties contesting the 2009 general election, we can’t avoid looking at the 900 pound gorilla in the corner: the ruling party, the ANC.


Party: African National Congress

Website: www.anc.org.za

Current representation: 293 seats / 400 (after floor crossing, which was an abominable concept)

Leader / presidential candidate: J Zuma

Some manifesto points:
More jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods
Food security – ensuring no one goes hungry
Rural and agricultural development and land reform
Education at the centre of efforts
Forward to achieving healthcare for all
Together intensify the fight against crime and corruption
Building cohesive and sustainable communities
A better Africa and a better world

Find the manifesto at: This web page

My key question for this election: Will their support change in numbers and character enough to force a substantial shift in policies?

Love them or hate them (and people certainly do both), they are here to stay and they will be the ruling party post April 1 barring something utterly unforeseen. They have a record over the last 15 years that shows some great successes (e.g. the economics front), some mixed bags (housing has both ups and downs) and some some real failures (AIDS policies and the Zimbabwe approach, anyone); if you think that this bears repeating, by all means cast your vote for them. Actually, my difficulty has less to do with the party itself than the principles of democracy that come into play by virtue of its success. I’m not sure that it is good for any party to sit with 74% of the seats in parliament no matter who they are, for the potential for circumventing principles such as the separation of powers and the transcendency of the Constitution is just too great. It may seem theoretical, for the party has been remarkably conservative in that regard thus far, but theories today have a nasty way of playing out in practice tomorrow.

A part of me thinks that the focus of the party, the things that it has done well, has often reflected the training and leanings of its leader – Nelson Mandela was a lawyer and we had legislative reform and an emphasis on relations, Thabo Mbeki was an economist and we had sound macroeconomic policies and good growth. What is Jacob Zuma and where will it lead us? I think he is (for now, anyway) a populist and we’ll get a focus on issues that affect the poorest most. That could be a good thing, but I’m also wary of pandering always to the lowest common denominator. Democracy is about so much more than the tyranny of the masses and you want its basic structures to be robust enough to withstand waves of popular opinion on the issue of the day.

There’s vast amounts that could be said about this party and most people would have made their minds up one way or another. My only comment is that this is one of the few instances where you should consider more than just the party in casting your vote.

  1. P.A.N says:

    Can’t believe I missed this. Given me much food for thought and perhaps a less antagonistic approach

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