South Africa’s ruling party celebrates its birthday amidst division

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, will celebrate its 110th anniversary this weekend because of its poor performance in last year’s local government elections, with serious differences, corruption allegations and widespread challenges

The anniversary event will be held on Saturday in the northern province of Limpopo. A few days ago, a state-backed judicial investigation revealed how some of the party’s senior officials have benefited from corruption.

The African National Congress still has a disagreement between supporting President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the chairman of the party, and those loyal to former President Jacob Zuma, who has been involved in legal disputes since leaving office in 2018.

Zuma’s refusal to attend the investigation committee resulted in his sentence of 15 months in prison in July last year. This triggered riots and caused widespread looting and property destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. More than 340 people were killed in the riots.

Ramaphosa acknowledged these issues in a conversation with ANC supporters this week.

“We face a lot of challenges, in almost every aspect. We have COVID-19. We also have corruption scandals… we have to deal with it. It involves people putting their fingers into the money that should be used for (personal protective equipment),” pulls Maphosa cited one of several corruption scandals.

He said that the unemployment caused by COVID-19 has exacerbated South Africa’s already 34% unemployment rate. He emphasized that the July riots were one of the major events that set the country back.

“This is a wide range of challenges and questions. It requires leadership, but it also requires us to work together and ask ourselves whether to make concessions… or to defend what we have achieved?” Ramaphosa said.

However, the support rate of the ANC has declined in recent years. In the local elections in October, it won less than 50% of the votes, which is the worst performance in the history of opinion polls.

Political analyst Hlengiwe Ndlovu said that the African National Congress will try to use the anniversary to win back some of the support they have lost over the years.

She said it was important that the African National Congress performed poorly in the October elections. “This is a clear message from a South African saying,’We are tired. We see what you are doing and we start to look out,'” Ndlovu said.

She said that Ramaphosa and others will “try to push the message of unity within the party, but factionalism within the party is very obvious, as we saw in the Jacob Zuma support protests,” she said. Say.

As COVID-19 regulations limit the number of gatherings to a maximum of 2,000 people, the number of people attending the anniversary event on Saturday will be reduced.