A government without a serious and effective opposition is a dangerous thing even though elected democratically. The ruling party has less incentive to govern well if the voters don’t have a genuine alternative. And if one party has all the power, people who want to enrich themselves by abusing the public office will surely join it.
The case of South Africa is of one just mentioned above. Ever since apartheid was dismantled and holding of first all race elections in 1994, the country’s politics has been dominated by one party, the ANC. South Africans credit the ANC for the abolishment of the apartheid rule with its long years of struggle. But this doesn’t give the ANC a right to govern forever. They like any other political party should be judged by their performance and results. And owing to the fact that cronyism and corruption are on the rise along with policy drift the results aren’t good.
Unemployment is on the rise with a staggering figure of 26.7% as quoted by the government’s sources though estimates suggest it is somewhere around 35%. The economy is shrinking with 1.2% annualized rate in this quarter. The country’s bonds are rated just above the rating of junk. The currency is losing its value. Politically as well the situation looks worse for Jacob Zuma with the country’s highest court having found him guilty of misusing the public funds to upgrade security features etc. in his ancestral home and ordering him to pay certain amount back. Not only this but also the Gupta family scandal has downgraded his approval ratings. Another straw to Zuma’s demise was the dismissal of his respected finance minister last year because he refused to sign off on a nuclear-power deal with Russia which Zuma favoured.
The ANC until it faces serious threat from the opposition at the time of elections, it is not gonna change. With around 62% people voting for them in the 2014 elections, it still doesn’t face any serious challenge but there are fears among the ANC members of the breakaway far-left group, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which surprisingly took 6% of vote share and the nearest rival of the ANC the Democratic Alliance (DA). The ANC’s toughest challenge is about to come when the Municipal elections are due on 3rd August. The DA has been governing Cape Town well for many years. It hopes to win in major cities this year and the biggest prize would be that of Johannesburg, the commercial capital of South Africa.
Thus with the failing ratings of President Zuma, South Africa needs an alternative to the ANC, who could boost the country’s economic growth which has a lot of unemployed youth along with reducing corruption and making best out of the fallen currency by adopting a liberal visa regime to boost tourism. The DA has the best opportunity to show the South Africans that it can govern outside Cape Town in the upcoming municipality elections. Until it can do so, its chances of winning are slim. So a lot is at stake on 3rd of August.