09 August 2016


South Africa has just had one of the most extraordinary elections in the short history of democracy from 1994.

When Nelson Mandela was elected to be president after the first democratic elections in April 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) had an enormous majority, winning with about 66 percent of the popular vote. Mandela was president for 5 years and did not seek another term of 5 years - very wisely - after 27 years in prison and already being over 70 years old.

However, one of Mandela's big mistakes - an error of judgement if ever there was one - was to anoint his successor in the form of the son of one of the main freedom fighters of the ANC, Govan Mbeki, and so his son Thabo Mbeki became the second president, leading South Africa down the path of AIDS denialism and thus being responsible for one of the world's worst HIV/AIDS affected states, from which, in 2016, it is slowly recovering.

After some years misleading South Africa, Mbeki was forced out of office and a temporary president appointed until a successor could be found to replace him. That successor was/is Jacob Zuma and the path to corruption has been steady and ongoing for at least the last 10 years. If it wasn't for the fact that South Africa has always been rich in diamonds, gold, steel, uranium, platinum and many other minerals which are in constant demand, South Africa would be in an even more parlous state than it is at the moment.

2016 saw national elections for local government areas across the country and the outcome has been a humiliating blow to the ANC, however the analysts try to disguise the results.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the EFF - the Economic Freedom Fighters - have reduced the overall vote throughout the country to its worst result so far - about 53 percent. The DA, which already held Cape Town, has now won control of Nelson Mandela Bay, which consists of an amalgamation of Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and a few other areas. The DA may also have won Johannesburg and Tshwana, which is an amalgamation of Pretoria and surrounding districts. The DA may have to form a coalition with one or more of the minor parties, but the ANC headquarters are in Johannesburg and it is a devastating blow to their control and prestige.

There is - and has been for some time - a cry for Zuma to go - he owes millions of Rand by court order on illegal alterations to his palace in the country - Nkandla - but so far he is not budging.

One name put forward to replace him is that of Cyril Ramaphosa, previously head of COSATU, the main trade union controlling body in South Africa, But Ramaphosa has become a millionaire business man and mining magnate since leaving COSATU and he was, with Zuma, responsible for the massacre at Marikana, not that long ago.

There are other candidates for the position of president and Zuma and Ramaphosa are not two of them.

Just as in Australia after the recent federal elections on 2 July 2016, South Africa, since the 3 August 2016 Local Government Elections, is in for some interesting times.

Cyril Ramaphosa COSATU

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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm