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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs