Daily Review: How South Africa’s ANC Got to This Point

Daily Review: How South Africa’s ANC Got to This Point
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa adresses the African National Congress national conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday Dec. 16, 2022. The conference will elect the party's leadership and adopt key policies for governing the country. President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking re-election as the party's leader at the national conference which is held every five years and is the ANC's highest decision-making body. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Voters are headed to the polls today in South Africa’s general election. Opinion polls predict the African National Congress, or ANC, which has held power for three decades, will lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid, although the party is still predicted to win a plurality and remain in the governing coalition. (Washington Post)

Our Take

We’re planning to look deeper at South Africa’s election next week, after the results are announced. But today, we want to take a look at just how the ANC, a party accustomed to dominance for so long, reached this point.

There are two main factors that have contributed to the ANC’s decreasing popularity. First, there is the party’s track record of poor governance. The ANC came to power in 1994 with a mandate to address high unemployment, inequality and poverty in the country, particularly affecting South Africa’s Black majority. Three decades later, unemployment levels have only worsened, while inequality and poverty rates remain high. Meanwhile, the daily challenges facing many South Africans—access to food, water and electricity—have scarcely improved.

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