The world applauded when the African National Congress led thefight to liberate South Africa from apartheid. But the ANC splanned second transition could be more controversial. More Related to this Story Canada's ties with South Africa dissolve in neglect Zuma drops legal case against S.Africa gallery that displayedgenitalia painting Africa South Africa's Jacob Zuma plays victim over 'genitalia' painting No final decisions have been made, but some influential ANCfactions are pushing for an ambitious agenda to transform thecourts, the media, the economy, and even the much-praisedconstitution. In South Africa, transform is code language for introducing agreater level of black ownership and, with it, usually a degreeof government control. |
It s an impulse that remains powerful amongmany politicians in the ANC, fuelled by a dangerous mixture of highunemployment, slow growth, weak leadership, and fierce feudingwithin the ruling party. In the past, the most radical proposals have usually been vetoed byleaders such as Nelson Mandela, who refused to allow thenationalization of large sectors of the South African economy. Butnow, in the heated climate of an unofficial campaign to toppleJacob Zuma from the ANC s leadership, the radical voices arebecoming bolder and more aggressive. Demands for the nationalization of the mining industry have beenrejected by the government, yet they continue to be repeated by theANC s youth league.
And now some union leaders, allied with theANC, are calling for the nationalization of all major industries,not just mining. Leaders of the youth league, meanwhile, are warning that blackswill seize white-owned farms in a Zimbabwe-style takeover if thefarmers refuse to surrender their land. The vast majority of SouthAfrica s farmland is still owned by whites, even though apartheidended in 1994. Whites must voluntarily give up their land if they don t want tosee young black people flooding their farms, said Ronald Lamola,deputy president of the youth league, in a speech this week. The independence of the judiciary is also coming under fire.
Onemember of the ANC s national executive, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, thisweek attacked South African judges for thwarting the will of theANC government. Mr. Ramatlhodi, who has significant support in the ruling party,wants reforms to the constitution and the courts to prevent thejudiciary from blocking government actions. And he made it clearthat he is blaming South Africa s white minority for the courtdecisions that go against the government.
There is a tyranny, a minority tyranny, that is using stateinstitutions to undermine democratic processes, Mr. Ramatlhodisaid in a speech at an ANC event. I have seen now in our countrythe courts are being used to replace the executive. Mr. Ramatlhodi, who is also the deputy minister of correctionalservices, was apparently angered by several recent cases in whichthe courts have halted or overturned government decisions on topappointments in the intelligence and prosecution agencies.
Lastyear he launched an attack on the constitution, saying it gave toomuch power to the courts. In his speech this week, he praised the ANC for leading a wave ofstreet protests against a painting that portrayed Mr. Zuma with hisgenitals exposed. The painting was eventually vandalized andremoved from a Johannesburg art gallery.
The second transitionmust deliver unto our people their dignity, he said. The media, too, are facing demands for black ownership. SouthAfrica s parliament is holding public hearings this month on theownership and control of the print media. On average, only 14 percent of the print media are owned by blacks, according to a recentreport. Increasing black ownership of a formerly white-dominated economymay be a laudable goal, but the ANC could be using it as an excusefor its cronies to gain wealth and win power over the media andother key sectors.
One senior ANC leader and wealthy businessman,Cyril Ramaphosa, is reported to be considering the purchase of oneof South Africa s biggest newspaper chains, IndependentNewspapers, which would certainly increase the ANC s influenceover the media. It would be a mistake to fret too much about a potential ANCauthoritarian state. The country remains diverse and democratic.The demands for state control of the economic and judicial levershave been mostly rhetorical so far. This week, for example, the ANC slapped down the youth leagueleaders who were calling for the expropriation of white-ownedfarms.
It is not ANC policy to expropriate land withoutcompensation, and personally I don t think it will work, saidthe ANC s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe. Yet the demands for nationalization and expropriation remain hotsubjects in ANC backrooms, along with proposals to amend theconstitution and impose tighter controls on the courts. Many ofthese proposals will be debated at a major ANC policy conferencenear Johannesburg this month. With a vaguely defined second transition still on the officialagenda, and with the leadership of Mr.
Zuma up for review atanother conference at the end of this year, South Africa is facinga tense political season. More Related to this Story South African gold town struggles to find a future Ottawa set to lift entry ban on ANC members SOUTH AFRICA Sexy interracial poster sparks furor in South Africa 100 years of South Africa's ANC - the good, the not so good and theugly.
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