The likely defeat of the ANC in the 2021 poll opens the way to policy reform in South Africa.
In 2012 the IRR first predicted that the ANC would lose its political majority but that this would occur for the first time only in 2024. It now appears that events have accelerated that demise, with the ANC set to slip below 50% in this week’s local polls.
Those polls reveal the growth of a broad centre to centre-right front of opposition parties from the FF+ to the ACDP, COPE, the DA and ASA, which have in common their opposition to the left-wing policy agenda and ideology of the ANC.
As the ANC remains ideologically hostile to the economic reforms necessary to secure much higher levels of growth, its political trajectory will most likely remain at an inverse correlation of the country’s growth rate.
That means that the emerging centre to centre-right opposition front may deny the ANC its 2024 national majority and then go on to dominate a post-2024 coalition government.
Under difficult circumstances, the DA has done well.
In 2016, the party secured around 27% of the municipal vote, which is set to come down to around 22% this week. While many observers will call that a failure, doing so would be to miss what has transpired in this election.
The DA’s ‘lost’ five points have not been lost to opposition politics but have ended up in the hands of ASA, the FF+ and a plethora of smaller opposition parties.
Outgoing IRR CEO Frans Cronje argues that ‘it is time to start thinking of those as a bloc of parties’.
‘They should never merge or join or forces. It is important at that each retains their unique identity and political competitiveness. But on core questions such as the importance of property rights, bringing down the corrupt ANC administration, and creating circumstances for an economic recovery, this bloc, now with between 30% and 40% of the vote – depending on how you count it – can be very effective in stalling South Africa’s demise and leading the country towards reform.’
In this sense, it is time therefore to start thinking in terms of two broad political blocs that will determine South Africa’s future. The first is the ANC/EFF bloc which after this election will have around 57% of the vote. The other is the bloc that stretches from ASA to the DA with a lot of smaller members in the middle.
If the ANC bloc stays in power then South Africa ultimately fails. If the opposition bloc grows, South Africa’s prospects will grow with it.
Contrary to a lot of what you will be told by mainstream analysts, this was not an election in which the opposition was rejected by voters. The opposition has rather diversified greatly, a development which in the longer terms bodes well for its growth and influence.
Should it deny the ANC its 2024 national majority and go on to form a coalition government, such a centre to centre-right administration and its reform agenda would be South Africa’s mostly likely avenue out of decay and collapse towards an economic and living-standards recovery.
For the first time in a decade there is light at the end of South Africa’s political tunnel.
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