News / Africa

South Africa's ANC on Attack as Opposition Grows

A supporter holds a flag depicting President Jacob Zuma during celebrations as delegates to the National Conference of the ruling African National Congress vote for their leadership in Bloemfontein, December 17, 2012.
A supporter holds a flag depicting President Jacob Zuma during celebrations as delegates to the National Conference of the ruling African National Congress vote for their leadership in Bloemfontein, December 17, 2012.
Anita Powell
— South Africa prides itself on being the continent’s premier democracy, but like many other African nations, it has effectively been a one-party state for decades.

Slowly, though, things are changing, as new opposition groups are emerging and gaining strength - and the ruling African National Congress party clearly does not like it. In recent weeks, the ANC has lashed out at opponents with harsh and colorful rhetoric.

Much of the vitriol coming from the ruling African National Congress is directed at the Democratic Alliance, a vocal opposition party, and a new political movement called Agang, which launched in February.

Both movements hope to take a share of the electorate from the ANC in the nation’s 2014 poll.

The ANC said they welcomed Agang, which is led by anti-apartheid stalwart Mamphela Ramphele.

South Africa's Mamphela Ramphele speaks during a news conference on the launch of her new political party Agang, Johannesburg, February 18, 2013.South Africa's Mamphela Ramphele speaks during a news conference on the launch of her new political party Agang, Johannesburg, February 18, 2013.
x
South Africa's Mamphela Ramphele speaks during a news conference on the launch of her new political party Agang, Johannesburg, February 18, 2013.
South Africa's Mamphela Ramphele speaks during a news conference on the launch of her new political party Agang, Johannesburg, February 18, 2013.
But then they added: “We believe that this initiative is grievance driven” and said Ramphele was not bringing any new ideas to politics.

The ANC also accused Ramphele of leaning on foreign political donors, and noted: ”We just hope that the pumping of foreign funds in South Africa will not undermine the further democratization and transformation in our country.”

ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said the harsh rhetoric is just part of politics. He also said he could not see the ANC working with the opposition, whom he accused of not having any real positions. He said, “They don’t have policies. If you don’t have a policy, there are no grounds for any kind of alliance.”

Mmusi Maimane, a spokesman for the Democratic Alliance, said the opposition feels that the ANC prefers direct attacks over policy arguments.

“I think one thing that is always consistent with the ANC is that they don’t often debate issues on the basis of policy, etcetera; it often is about people and personalities," Maimane said. "So if you criticize the ANC on any other matter, invariably that conversation will either be about about gender, about class, about age, about the discrimination that they face to people.”

Take, for example, this recent statement from the ANC youth league about DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, which began: “DA’s Lindiwe lives in La-La Land.”

In the statement, the youth league picked on Mazibuko’s age, her upbringing and her rhetoric. They also said her party, which is led by a white politician, Helen Zille, is “liberal, racist and irrelevant.”

Khoza, the ANC spokesman, defended the youth league’s attack on Mazibuko - and said the ANC does not fear any threat to their dominance in 2014.

“We’re not afraid," he said  "If Lindiwe Mazibuko doesn’t make sense, what should we say?  When you say somebody’s nonsensical it means she does not make sense.  Why is that bullying when we say that she does not make sense?”

This is not the first personal attack Mazibuko has weathered: last year, an ANC minister took to the floor of parliament and called her a racial slur that implies that she is not black enough.
 
The DA’s Maimane warned that political rhetoric could lead to something more sinister.

“I fear that we’ve seen this trend in other political parties in Africa," Maimane said. "In fact, I can recall in other places, when, if you go Kenya, where, when an election party, especially a liberation movement, feels that they’ve lost relevance with people, suddenly the resort is actually towards race and towards actually being critical of opposition without any substance to the issue.”

Strong words, indeed-- and elections are more than a year away.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid