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In South Africa, Ruling ANC Finds Dissatisfaction at Local Level

In recent years in South Africa, there has been a growing number of protests and marches complaining about the lack of improvement in basic living conditions. The complaints have been leveled against the ruling African National Congress Party, which has been in power since the 1994 democratic elections.

VOA reporter Delia Robertson is following the story. From Johannesburg, she tells English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua that the ANC is having problems improving basic services in many areas.

“This is the area where the ANC government is at its weakest. It’s at the local government level. And in many, many places you have a situation where they don’t have enough skilled people. They have lost skilled people and qualified professionals to the private sector and so son. That has caused a big problem. In smaller municipalities it’s often been the case of lack of funding, either due to poor planning or mismanagement. And so, you’re having situations where at the local government level, where services are supposed to be provided, very often this is not happening. And people are getting quite tired of it,” she says.

However, if there is such dissatisfaction, why isn’t it showing up at the polls on election day? “I think you’re still seeing a situation where…traditional ANC supporters are not willing to shift their loyalty and probably won’t be for maybe another 5 or 10 years, perhaps or even longer. These people are rooted in the traditions of the African National Congress. They were brought up on those traditions and they feel that on many levels the government is doing a good job,” she says.

This makes it much more difficult for opposition parties, such as the Democratic Alliance or Independent Democrats, to make inroads. But Robertson says the ANC may face a greater challenge elsewhere. “The experts in this country and political analysts and so on still believe that the biggest challenge to the African National Congress will come its left. And the left of the ANC is still part of the ANC in the tri-partite alliance,” she says.