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Blade Nzimande, then South Africa’s higher education minister, addresses students protesting a proposed hike in tuition fees, Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 21, 2015 (Rex Features via AP Images).

Is the Alliance Underpinning South Africa’s ANC About to Fracture?

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017

Last month, embattled South African President Jacob Zuma removed his higher education minister, Blade Nzimande, who is also the general secretary of the South African Communist Party. It was more than a Cabinet reshuffle. By sacking Nzimande, Zuma poisoned his relationship with the African National Congress’ alliance partner.

The move, and its outcome, was rich in irony. In its desire to be rid of then-President Thabo Mbeki from the early 2000s onward, the SACP, led by Nzimande, fatally tied its fortunes to Zuma’s candidacy. It sought to convince itself that he represented a progressive alternative to the neoliberal economics, excessive centralism and authoritarian culture that they associated with Mbeki. The SACP felt that Zuma would offer a more inclusive approach to intra-ANC and intra-alliance debate, and might even produce a significant left turn in South African politics. ...

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