The ANC’s last decade: an interview with Ralph Mathekga after South Africa’s municipal elections

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Picture of Ralph Mathekga: YouTube

Ralph Mathekga is a South African political analyst. He taught politics at the University of the Western Cape and worked as a senior policy analyst at National Treasury. Ralph is the author of When Zuma goes and holds a PhD in politics. Ralph recently wrote the book The ANC’s last decade.

A few days after South Africa’s municipal elections, Ralph discusses his thoughts on the current situation in the country with Naomi Meyer.

Ralph, your book The ANC’s last decade was recently published by NB Publishers. You write that the party is seemingly at war with itself, and that President Ramaphosa is battling to rein in corrupt cadres. You predict the ANC will fall below the critical 50% threshold before the end of the decade. The decline of the ANC could bring political reform, but also uncertainty. What else do you predict for the country in this book?

I am also interested in how South Africa’s politics will hold without the domination of the ANC. South Africa has many years of experience with a system of single party dominance, and we are accustomed to the system whereby a single party has hegemony. The decline of the ANC also means the end of centre-driven politics in our society; it ushers in the unknown world of political fragmentation.

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The decline of the ANC also means the end of centre-driven politics in our society; it ushers in the unknown world of political fragmentation.

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What do you think of the results of the election this year?

The elections show that there is no single party currently consolidating political support sufficiently. The major parties are not holding up well, and newer entrants are showing strengths, but not enough to dominate the system yet. The elections bring more uncertainty in the system. The elections show that the ANC is indeed in trouble, but so is the DA.

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The elections bring more uncertainty in the system. The elections show that the ANC is indeed in trouble, but so is the DA.

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Who are the parties to look out for, in your opinion? Also: what can you tell by looking at the voting results? 

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This was an election where voters had a problem with established parties, yet were not assured sufficiently to give overwhelming support to smaller parties.

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Newer parties do seem to be coming through well; however, the problem is lack of consolidation. This was an election where voters had a problem with established parties, yet were not assured sufficiently to give overwhelming support to smaller parties. This means that the term of local government will be more unstable in the short term, but will possibly stabilise in the long term.

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First sip: The ANC’s last decade by Ralph Mathekga

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