About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

05 March 2014

Opposition Politics in South Africa

The Centre for Ethics at WITS hosted a debate on opposition politics in South Africa last night. The panel consisted of author and talk show host Eusebius McKaiser, UJ Professor Steven Friedman, Independent Newspaper's chief editor Karima Brown and WITS Professor Daryl Glaser. It was an enlightening discussion, although it wasn't really a debate, given that all the panelists more or less agreed on the major discussion points; but the discussion points were still intellectually stimulating and provided some very interesting insights.

The discussion was obviously dominated by a few key themes - DA and whether it got the fact that race is important to most South Africans; EFF and it's actual chances; whether NUMSA would be more effective and what it would take to overcome the ANC hegemony.

Probably the most interesting idea advanced by the panelists, was that opposition parties in South Africa largely do not have any real ideological differences to the ANC. The argument was that the major opposition parties are effectively stating that try are the ANC but would be able to deliver better, and thus they are not really painting a radically different vision for South Africa. And since the ANC currently owns that vision, together with a powerful history of great leaders like Mandela and Tambo together  with the success of liberation; they inherently start off better than the opposition parties. The panelists further agreed that EFF was not radically new vision - but rather a more fundamentalist version of the ANC vision, and thus can be classed in the same pot.

Quite some time was also spent on racial politics and the DA's general incompetence in this regard. Eusebius McKaiser elements put it that the DA's policies are clear as mud which in turn turns off both their existing and prospective supporters. 

Largely, the consensus seemed to be that ANC will win handsomely, and will only be affected by the supporters who agree that other parties would deliver the same vision better. Without a comprehensively new vision however, long term opposition politics will remain in the quagmire that they are not really that different. 

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