South Africa’s political façade has begun to crack. Fissures within the ruling African National Congress party became more pronounced Tuesday, as violent demonstrations erupted in Johannesburg to protest a disciplinary hearing for Julius Malema. From Reuters:
South Africa’s ruling ANC will hold the second day of a disciplinary hearing of youth leader Julius Malema at its headquarters in Johannesburg despite violent protests on Tuesday, a party spokesman said on Wednesday.
The African National Congress said late on Tuesday it would move the hearing to a secret location outside Johannesburg after thousands of Malema supporters hurled rocks and beer bottles at police and journalists and burned ANC flags.
The hearing is a high-stakes gamble for both President Jacob Zuma and Malema, who has called for the nationalisation of mines. The firebrand youth leader, seen as a potential future leader, faces possible suspension from the party. But if he is exonerated, Zuma could be fighting for political survival.
The longstanding strategy of the ANC appears to have failed. Reaching out to white voters and embracing globalization were intended to make South Africa prosperous enough to support higher living standards for the black majority, fast. It hasn’t worked. In the face of economic stagnation, the consensus surrounding this policy is beginning to unravel — the ANC does not have a strategy for raising the standard of living of an increasingly impatient majority.
The global economic slowdown makes life even more difficult for South African officials, and the impatience of the black majority with the slow pace of economic change could pose the gravest threat yet to the South African miracle.