The ruling party of South Africa, the African National Congress, is holding a party congress in Manguang, where the party was formed nearly a century ago to oppose segregationist policies introduced by the Union Government. The ANC would go on to oppose the infamous policy of Apartheid, and rose to power in post-Apartheid South Africa, maintaining political dominance ever since 1994.
In this Congress, the ANC’s leader shall be chosen. Despite criticisms of being lax on corruption and incompetence, current President Jacob Zuma appears the favourite to win the leadership. However he is facing a tough challenge from his Vice President, Kgalema Motlanthe, who was the interim President of South Africa from 2008-2009 after the resignation of President Mbeki. Motlanthe could be putting his career on the line by challenging Zuma, but strong competition is a vital element in democracies and so is an encouraging sign for South Africa’s struggling development and progression from Apartheid.
Of course, competition from a variety of parties is also essential for a democracy, yet, barring any extraordinary events, whoever wins this leadership election will undoubtedly go on to become President in the 2014 General Election. This is not as of yet down to any dictatorial attempts by the ANC to stay in power, but the fear is that the longer the ANC rules South Africa the further entrenched its power will become, until South Africa and the ANC become inseparable much like South Africa and the National Party were between 1948 and 1994.
Although the Congress will most likely re-elect Zuma as leader of the ANC, it will be an interesting insight nonetheless on the direction South Africa is heading. I personally, without knowing a great deal about either man, think Motlanthe appears to be the better to lead the party.