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Roger Southall on the 2014 South African Elections: “The ANC’s Vote is Beginning to Crumble”

Liberation Movements in PowerRoger Southall wrote an essay for the Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 2 about the 2014 elections. In the essay, entitled “The South African Election of 2014: Retrospect and Prospect”, Southall examines the significant shift in the political landscape that occurred during this year’s election period.

At the forefront of his analysis is the fact that the African National Congress (ANC) is no longer the party of choice for the liberation movement. The Economic Freedom Flighters (EFF) under the leadership of Julius Malema have become the third official party while the Democratic Alliance (DA) continues to rise in the polls, Southall writes.

“There is much to be said for the ‘business as usual’ perspective on the 2014 elections,” Southall says. In the essay the author of Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa makes the following three points:

  • The foundations of the ANC’s vote are beginning to crumble
  • The DA will continue to garner support of the voters
  • The EFF has lent a new dimension to ‘third’ party politics

Have the ANC lost their mojo? Read the essay to find out:

The ANC: Defying expectations — but for how long?

The ANC entered the election against the background of opinion polls that suggested that it might be hauled back to just over 50 per cent of the vote. Widespread labour disputes, highlighted by the tragedy of Marikana (when police killed 44 striking mineworkers) and the long running strike on the platinum mines, combined with other depressing news to contribute to declining confidence in the economy. The death of Nelson Mandela in December 2013 symbolised for many the end of an era, reinforcing narratives that the ANC had lost its idealism, and had become the vehicle of a political class out of touch with its historic constituency amongst, notably, the poor. Indeed, a continuing high level of popular protests among communities around the country highlighted deep-seated discontent with government performance on the ground.

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