South Africa’s ANC: things fall apart

BY Dale T. McKinley, Johannesburg

November 15, 2008 -- At some point in the not-too-distant future, we might just look back at 2008 as the year in which things really started to fall apart for the African National Congress (ANC).

Africa’s oldest liberation movement, which has enjoyed overwhelming political hegemony and electoral success since South Africa’s democratic breakthrough in 1994, is in deep trouble.

Crucially, this is not mainly as a result of the more recent domestic manifestations of the ever-widening crisis of capitalism nor of any kind of immediate threat to its 18-year hold on political power.

It is rather more simple — the “big happy family” whose members range from crypto-communists to die-hard capitalists, from ethno-nationalist chauvinists to cosmopolitan liberals — is beginning to break apart because there remains little to hold the heterogeneous clan together anymore.

There have always been factional battles raging within the ANC: the fights between the “radical” Youth League and the “conservative” older generation in the 1940s; the open warfare between the “black nationalists” and the multi-racial “Congress” in the 1950s; the regular stand-offs between the “workerists” and the “nationalists” in the 1970s and early to mid ’80s; and the skirmishes between the “exiles” and “internals” in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

However, none of these family fisticuffs ever resulted in a serious, sustained threat to the political, ideological or organisational integrity of the ANC, precisely because the anti-apartheid glue held, and healed, fast.


No surprise then, that after the political defeat of apartheid in 1994 and the ANC’s ascension to state power, that glue became increasingly obsolete.

With the rapid disappearance of the overarching historical “ties that bind”, internal battles began to exhibit much more explicit ideological, personal, racial, state power and occasionally ethnic characteristics.

Despite their often intense and public nature, these post-1994 battles did not result in the disintegration of the ANC family, mainly due to the fact that a new glue had been manufactured — obsequious loyalty to, and centralisation of power around, a “big man”.

At first it was Nelson Mandela, whose manipulated iconisation demanded general quiescence in the face of the neoliberal policies that were a spit in the face to the ANC’s mass constituency.

Then came Thabo Mbeki, whose Machiavellianism and personal insecurities required unquestioned obedience and self-censorship.

What then appeared to many to be a long-awaited internal revolt by ANC members at the 2007 Polokwane Conference (in the name of a mythical “reclamation of the ANC”) has turned out to be the latest instalment of the same “big man” politics, in the form of Jacob Zuma.


The problem for Zuma, however, is that, unlike that of his predecessors, his rise to the ANC throne has taken place in a context in which the accumulation of post-1994 battles has produced ever-more vitriolic and alienating family spats.

Since Polokwane, South Africans have witnessed what can most aptly be described as continuous instalments of the ANC Fight Club. The ANC house has become too small for the large collection of bruised egos, fiefdoms of patronage, competing chauvinisms, wanna-be political kingmakers and ideological chameleons.

Building on the previous “counter-revolutionary” and “charlatan” name-calling that was the hallmark of Mbeki’s reign, the Zuma crowd has now added “dog”, “snake” and “cockroach”.

The second-layer transitional glue has finally peeled away and the edifice looks pretty ugly.

Indeed, the deterioration of the two metaphorical glues parallels the ANC’s own metamorphosis from a liberation movement designed to overthrow a racially based system of power overlaid with narrow class interests, to a “modern” bourgeois political party designed to consolidate a class-based system of power overlaid with narrow racial interests.

As has been the case with all national liberation movements that have become post-independence political parties, the ANC has finally been caught in a web of its own contradictions. The consistent, if individually marked, political, organisational and economic bases for the consolidation and exercise of the ANC’s post-1994 power (and accompanying privilege for those at the helm) have planted the seeds of its present troubles.

Whether it be the often bitter retreat into the political shadows of a sizeable portion of the “old” leadership, the apparent ascendance of dumbed-down storm-troopers, the disintegration of its own activist grassroots structures, the socio-political resistance of its “natural” constituencies, the spectacle of professed communists and “radical” unionists embracing socially reactionary positions or the imminent arrival of an ANC breakaway party led by a clutch of former senior ANC leaders — the bottom line is: the ANC is in terminal decline.


The immediate consequences of the ANC’s descent into the morass of its own making will be negative for the majority of South Africans.

On the one hand, Zuma’s ANC will remain largely true to the organisation’s commitment to macro-economic policies that will further consolidate the class interests of the old and new members of the capitalist class, minimal redistribution to the poor notwithstanding.

On the other hand, the Zuma crowd’s thinly veiled misogyny, his pronouncements that the way to deal with rampant crime is to deny bail to criminals and the answer to teenage pregnancies in poor communities is to take babies away from their mothers, foreshadow a potentially reactionary turn towards a pseudo-“traditionalist” social fascism.

However, on the political/organisational front the outlook is a bit more heartening. The space that has been opening up for the past several years as a result of the struggles of workers and poor communities will continue to provide new opportunities for meaningful opposition.

While the ANC will no doubt emerge triumphant from the 2009 national elections, the mere presence of a competitor emerging out of its own senior ranks, despite its centre-right character, has destroyed the ANC’s propaganda mantra of perpetual “organisational unity at all costs” and presages healthier electoral competition.

Like the often heroically infused yet tragic series of events that give Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart its timeless title, the ANC’s falling apart has been in the making for a long time. It will continue for sometime to come.

Unlike Achebe’s story, however, this is no fiction.

[This article first appeared in Green Left Weekly issue #775 November 19, 2008.]

This sneering and misleading article falls far below GLW's usually high standards.

To mention a very few issues among the many where Dale T. McKinley has got it wrong:-

"...the ANC’s own metamorphosis from a liberation movement designed to overthrow a racially based system of power overlaid with narrow class interests, to a “modern” bourgeois political party..."

This is rubbish. The ANC has not become "a 'modern' bourgeois political party". The ANC is an alliance which includes the trade union movement, the Communist Party, the Youth League, and the Women's League.

It is hardly the pattern of a modern bourgeois party to include within it an influential communist party and a militant trade union movement.

"...the ANC’s descent into the morass of its own making..."

Thus the author completely ignores the global economic & ideological context of imperialist neo-liberal domination and the consequences of the defeat of the USSR & the socialist camp, in which the ANC took office.

"...the mere presence of a competitor emerging out of its own senior ranks, despite its centre-right character, has destroyed the ANC’s propaganda mantra of perpetual “organisational unity at all costs” and presages healthier electoral competition."

So, Mr McKinley appears to welcome the emergence of a party which will seek to weaken the ANC by challenging, from the right, the ANC's support among black voters; and he envisages more 'electoral competition' as the way forward.

A remarkable faith in the beneficial nature of the 'normal' bourgeois pluralist political process; a remarkable neglect of the dangers of ethnic conflict (which the ANC, for all its flaws, has so far succeeded in restraining); and a remarkable failure to consider that imperialism (not the majority of the South African people) would be the main gainer if Dale T. McKinley's dream of the 'falling apart' of the ANC comes to pass.

"...the ANC’s falling apart has been in the making for a long time. It will continue for sometime to come."

Be careful what you wish for, Mr McKinley.


Clearly, Noah has little knowledge of what has been going on in either South Africa or the ANC for the last 15 years or so (and even less, although I cannot expect him to, of my own political/activist history and accompaying writing over the same period).

If he did, then he would know that the ANC's transformaton into a 'bourgeois political party' (which he calls "rubbish") begun as soon as it took power in 1994. The 'Alliance' that it has with COSATU and the SA Communist Party (which I was a leader of for over 8 years in the 1990s) has always been more in name than substance. The ANC trots out the Alliance when it is useful (i.e. when it wants to appear 'progressive' in the face of 'imperialism' and criticism from the extra-Alliance left in South Africa) but when it comes to meaningful political and economic decisions, tells its 'Alliance' partners to shut up and sides - as it has done in relation to every major economic policy decision since the mid-1990s - with those same 'imperialists' and domestic corporate capital. Secondarily, the leaderships of COSATU and the SACP themselves, have proven time and again over the last 15 years to be wholly unable to actually lead an independent working class politics and struggle - choosing instead the personal privileges and material comforts that come with their "influential" positions vis-a-vis the Alliance with the ANC and the government it leads.

What shifts have occured in ANC socio-economic policy - and the opening up of political space to the left of the ANC - has predominately come from the activities and struggles of social movements/community organisations alongside those of rank-and-file workers (often in spite of the bureaucratic and politically controlling 'hand' of COSATU and individual union leaders and bureaucrats).

While it might give intellectual and ideological comfort - to those who strill hanker ater the 'old' ANC of the pre-1994 era and who refuse to recognise the realities of working class struggles that have been going on in South Africa since 1994 - to depict the ANC as some kind of victim of neo-liberal globalisation and the failure of commandist 'socialism', there is noone else to blame for the mess that the ANC has led itself into but the ANC. It is not I that is "ignoring the global economic and ideological context of imperialist neo-liberal domination" but rather the ANC that has embraced it. Year in and year out since the mid-1990s, the ANC has actively and energetically defended that embrace and expanded its neo-liberal inspired policies (which are simply too numerous to mention here but which, crucially for the working class constituency it claims to represent, has meant mass evictions, unemployment running up to 40%, cut-offs of water and electricity because of 'cost-recovery', privatisation'/corporatisation of key public utilities, huge increases in basic food prices - and the list goes on ...).

The ANC has weakened itself - indeed, has virtually destroyed its own grassroots structures and activist base over the last 15 years in the name of state managerialism and that hoary old mantra about there being 'no alternative'). The ANC has fundamentally turned its back on its own base constituency and the principles and promises of the liberation struggle, opting instead to put its 'faith' in international/domestic corporate capital and the development of a new black capitalist class. In the process, it has turned radical potential into reactionary reality: sidling up to a long list of 'third world' dictators/oppressors; adopting immigration policies that treat fellow Africsn as 'aliens' and 'criminals' out to take away jobs from poor South Africans - and thus stoking a simmering xenophobia and reactionary 'nationalism; using the coercive power of the state to try and smash independent working class organisations and struggles; and, making use of a thinly veiled ethnic and misogynist politics to mobilise a dangerous and dead-end populism for the sake of electoral success. No amount of oppotunistic blame naming is going to change that.

The reality of the split in the ANC (which has produced a new centre-right party) is a direct product of the ANC's own post-1994 politics and organisational culture. I do not "welcome' the new party, I simply acknowledge that it bursts the bubble of the ANC's mantra of 'organisational unity' and that its presence will of necessity (since it is being led and populated by ex-ANC leaders/members) provide further electoral competition to the ANC (note that the majority of South Africans did not even bother to vote in the last national elections and that most all independent working class movements and organisations have not participated as political party formations in the electoral process).

If Noah was paying attention to what has been going on - on the ground, in poor communities where the majority of people live - in South Africa for the last 2-3 years, then he would also know that those socialists like myself - and the myriad movements/organisations of the left that we struggle in - have been the very ones fighting tooth and nail against: "normal bourgeois political processes"; the "dangers of ethnic conflict"; the neo-liberal policies of the ANC government; the cult of personality politics in the body politic; the anti-democratic centralisation of power and crushing of any dissent within the ANC and its Alliance partners; and, the lie that the ANC should continue to be seen and treated as a progressive 'anti-imperialist' liberation movement despite the constant and continuing counter-realities of its political rule (we need look no further than Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF for lessons in this regard).

Lastly Noah, it has never been, nor is it now, either my "wish' nor my "dream" for the ANC to fall apart. Like so many others here in South Africa, I was an ANC (and then SACP) activist and member for many years. I left the ANC (and then was expelled from the SACP) simply because those organisations had betrayed the working class and become - both politically and organisationally - obstacles to any meaningful socialist struggle, internationalism and anti-imperialism. As I said in the article, such a falling apart has been going on for some time and will continue for some time to come - that is a reflection of reality, not of my imagination. What I do wish for, and occasionally dream about, though is a political, organisational and ideological unity of working class people and movements/forces (both here in South Africa and across our globe). The ANC threw away its historic opportunity to lead that struggle (in South Africa but with global impact) a long time ago and what has been going on inside/with the ANC since, is a direct result.

Dale T. McKinley


Tuesday, 25 November 2008
eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee Press Statement

Date: Wednesday 26 November 2008
Time: 10:00
Route: From Isithebe airstrip to the Mandeni Municipal Offices

At least ten thousand people are expected to march on KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele tomorrow morning. A memorandum will be handed to the Premier warning him to immediately retract his plans to evict 10 000 families from eMacambini and to cease his collaboration with new forms of colonialism.

The march has been organised by the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee which has been formed by the eMacambini Development Committee which has been democratically elected by the community. The eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee is rejecting all forms of party politics.

eMacambini stretches over 19 000 hectares of coastal land. It is a very beautiful place. The soil is rich and the land is fertile. Our ancestors have lived here for generations and they have always defended this land against every threat. Their graves are on this land.

S'bu Ndebele has promised 16 500 hectares to Ruwaad Holdings from Dubai so that they can build a playground for the rich of the world including the AmaZulu World Themepark, a shopping mall eight times the size of the Gateway mall hotels, a game reserve, six golf courses, residential areas, sports fields and a R200 million 100m high statue of Shaka Zulu at the Thukela river mouth. They will take the beach from the Thukela River past the Amatikulu river until Dodokweni.

The plans hatched by Ndebele and Ruwaad will result in the forced removal of 10 000 families from their land. Those that qualify for housing subsidies will be resettled in tiny RDP houses in a 500 hectare township near Mandeni. Even if you have a big house now you will be forced into a tiny RDP house. Those that do not qualify for housing subsidies will be left homeless and they will have to fend for themselves. More than 300 churches as well as 29 schools and 3 clinics will also be lost. The government statistics say that there is 40% unemployment here in eMacambini. What they don't understand is that 25% of the people here are not willing to go to work and want to be the bosses of themselves – they are living through the land and through the ocean.

Here we are growing sugar cane, vegetables and fruit. Here we are raising cattles, sheep and goats. Here some of us survive on fishing.

Here some of the land is owned by private individuals but there is a lot of communal life too. The sea, the rivers and the valleys are all held in common. The water in the rivers, the wood in the forests, the fish in the sea, the sand on the river banks, the medicinal plants and the pastures are all free for everyone.

There will be no compensation for what we will lose. There will just be a swop of land – a 500 hectare township for 16 500 hectares of beautiful and free land with rivers, valleys, pastures and beaches. In the townships there will be nothing for free. We will have to pay rates there.

People are feeling like they are being forced to give up on their heritage. They do not want to leave the land of their ancestors. They do not want to leave the graves of their ancestors.

What was called 'forced removal under apartheid' is now called 'relocation'. We are told that we 'do not understand development' and that we 'need a workshop in order to understand development'. We understand this kind of development very well. It is new words for old forms of oppression. Relocations are forced removals. This is a new kind of colonialism. We will not be workshopped into accepting the loss of our land and our heritage. We will not be workshopped into accepting our own oppression.

It is not that we are against all development. If development can be negotiated with the community and plans can be made that will benefit everyone in the community then we will support that development. There are some vacant lands here and we are prepared to negotiate about how that land can be developed. We have been discussing plans for the development of the vacant lands.

S'bu Ndebele is suing the eMacambini Inkosi for R2.5 million and he is suing the SABC for R2.5 million because he claims that we was defamed when the Inkosi told the truth on SABC. He must know that he is suing the whole community. This is just a way to try and intimidate us so that we will be silent about this forced removal and the theft of our land. We will not be intimidated and we will not be silent. We are angry. We are red. We will show our anger. We hope that the SABC and other media will also refuse to be intimidated.

This is supposed to be the time in which land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid. This is supposed to be the time of redistribution. We never thought that this would be the time of a new colonialism – a time when our land would be taken to us and given to Ruwaad Holdings so that rich people in Dubai can get richer by turning our land and our heritage into a playground for the rich of the world. We know that Dubai is based on a ruthless apartheid between the rich and the poor. Apartheid was defeated in this country. We will not allow the people from Dubai to bring a new apartheid here and we will not allow S'bu Ndebele to sell us to this new colonialism.

We have a right to a good place to live. We have a right to our place.

The first phase of AmaZulu World is supposed to begin in December this year. The last phase is supposed to conclude twenty five years later. People are living in fear and uncertainty about their future. Children wake up scared in the night. Old gogos are having high blood pressure.

Our ancestors fought for this land. We will fight for it. If necessary we are prepared to die for it.

For further information or comment please contact the following members of the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee:

Moffat Chili: 073 409 8625
Herbert Mbambo: 082 309 1637
Bheki Lushozi: 083 885 1448
Shando: 083 684 4562

The march on S'bu Ndebele is also supported by the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Christian Council. For further information or comment please contact Rev. Buthelezi on 082 754 6476

This press statement and the march on S'bu Ndebele are also supported by the Poor People's Alliance. The Poor People's Alliance is an unfunded alliance of radical grassroots movements that is constituted by Abahlali baseMjondolo (KwaZulu-Natal & Western Cape), the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (Western Cape), the Landless People's Movement (Gauteng) and the Rural Network (KwaZulu-Natal). Comrades from Abahlali baseMjondolo (KwaZulu-Natal) and the Rural Network will be physically present at the march tomorrow.

For further information or comment please contact:

Abahlali baseMjondolo (KwaZulu-Natal): Zodwa Nsibande - 082 830 2707
Abahlali baseMjondolo (Western Cape): Mzonke Poni - 073 256 2036
Landless People's Movement (Gauteng): Maureen Mnisi -082 337 4514
Rural Network (KwaZulu-Natal): Rev. Mavuso -072 279 2634
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (Western Cape): Ashraf Casiem - 076 186 1408


22 November 2008

Privatised ‘nationalism’ and xenophobia continues in South Africa today

The Anti Privatisation Forum joined with the Coalition Against Xenophobia at the ‘Lindela Repatriation Centre’ in Krugerdorp yesterday/today for a 24 hour picket calling for Lindela to be shut down. Our struggle knows no borders and we extend our solidarity to our African brothers and sisters who are being grabbed on the street, chased out of their homes and abducted to the deportation camp. The existence of the camp is a long-standing shame of democratic South Africa. Whether the 'Congress of the People' rightfully belongs to anyone in South Africa is a question void of any meaning when there is a complete unwillingness to confront  the glaring racism, Afrophobia and violence that is Lindela. If South Africa 'belongs to all those who live in it', the principals on the throne of the Freedom Charter would be joining the Coalition to demand its closure.

Lindela is a deportation centre (euphemistically renamed a ‘repatriation centre’) at the bottom end of a system primed to filter out poor Zimbabweans and Mozambiquans as well as all other ‘illegal’ immigrants (mostly all from the African continent). The police arrest anyone who they suspect of being an immigrant, using the stereotyped markers of a darker-than-South African complexion, language proficiency or simply self-referential ‘identification’ - Verstaan jy! Many ID-card carrying South African citizens are of course also detained. Like the dompas before it, the ID book must be done away with, or apartheid continues to be real.

Besides the complete lack of political will to adopt a open and solidaristic immigration policy, another main reason that (immigrant) influx control persists from apartheid to today is that it is profitable for corrupt police, Home Affairs officials and the owners of Lindela. Corruption is so routine amongst the police that they refer to immigrants as 'ATMs'. Gaining access to basic amenities, phones and visitors in Lindela depends on the payment of bribes. The biggest takings go to Dyambu Trust, which owns the private company that runs Lindela - Bosasa. The Home Affairs Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is a founding member of Dyambu together with other senior ANC Women's League members. Though she called an internal report on conditions in Lindela as "a real indictment on our work as a department," this did not stop her from rehiring Dyambu Trust to run Lindela. She was indeed passing the buck: Dyambu receives over R40-million a year in terms of their contract with the Department of Home Affairs, and R59 per detainee per day (in 2005).

What we have here is a disgusting example of a politically-connected private company earning big profits from the oppression, mistreatment and misery of fellow Africans. It is supremely ironic that this kind of ‘policy’ and behaviour is reminiscent of the privatised ‘nationalism’ of the colonial days. Meanwhile of course, wealthy ‘non-South Africans’ are welcomed and provided with all the services and dignity/respect that can be mustered by our government – simply because they have money. Large scale foreign corporations are given the red carpet treatment but those who flee their own countries precisely because of the inhumane and profit-hungry activities of these same corporations – in conjunction with corrupt and undemocratic governments - are seen as ‘undesirables’ and ‘illegals’ and shown the back door – simply because they are poor. Lindela – hidden away on the edges of Johannesburg behind high walls and guard towers, where no-one can see what is going on, is South Africa’s symbol of shame.

It is not for a more humane deportation of our African brothers and sisters that the Anti Privatisation Forum is demonstrating its support. The extortion, sexual harassment, degrading treatment and sometimes beatings/torture of detainees are the signs of an underlying injustice that stems from a deep-seated xenophobia and sense of national, social and economic superiority amongst many ‘South Africans, not least of which is our own government and the political leadership therein. The continued operation of Lindela is an affront to human dignity, solidarity and equality and to the professed ideals/principles of South Africans own struggle for liberation as well the South African Constitution. As long as it continues to operate, Lindela will stand out as the main symbol of South Africa’s denial of its own struggle heritage and an arrogant and misplaced nationalism that divides African people and feeds an underlying xenophobia amongst ‘superior’ South Africans’.

Lindela must be shut down immediately. The South African government must begin a process of adopting an open immigration policy in which all African peoples are treated with dignity, respect and welcomed as a positive addition to the social, economic and cultural building of our country. South African authorities must stop the business of policing who is, and is not, ‘South African’. At its core, and especially given the divisive and oppressive history of colonialism on our continent, nationalism is a constructed political and social disease that continues to hold back the united development of peoples of our region and continent.  

Lindela is racist!
Lindela is inhumane!
Lindela must be shutdown!

[The 24-hour picket of Lindela started yesterday at 12 noon and ended at 12 noon today. The APF mobilised communities from the East Rand, Soweto, the Vaal, Pretoria and the Free State to support the action and were joined by immigrant communities from Joburg south (Forest Hill, Rosttenville) and the inner city (Hillbrow, Yeoville, the Central Methodist Church)]


For further comment contact: Meshack Tladi on 079 812 4724 or
Sthembiso Nhlapo 078 148 0153

Anti Privatisation Forum
123 Pritchard Street (cnr Mooi)
6th floor Vogas House, Johannesburg
Tel: (011) 333-8334 Fax: (011) 333-8335

Hi Dale & thanks for your extensive reply.

Firstly, I am aware of your history as a writer and activist, including the fact of your expulsion from the Communist Party. But I don't see the relevance of this to our disagreement. My criticism was not of your record, but of the assertions, tone and analysis in your GLW / Links article.

In which, very clearly, your thesis is that the main cause of South Africa's problems, and those of the ANC, lies in the ANC itself. In your article there was not one mention of the global context. And in your reply to me, when you mention the words 'imperialism' and 'third world', you put scare-quotes around the words!

In your reply, you assert that: "The 'Alliance' that it [the ANC] has with COSATU and the SA Communist Party [...] has always been more in name than substance." While I've encountered various historical revisionist claims in my time, that's one of the most impressive!

You write: " there is noone else to blame for the mess that the ANC has led itself into but the ANC. It is not I that is 'ignoring the global economic and ideological context of imperialist neo-liberal domination' but rather the ANC that has embraced it."

Following the defeat of what you refer to as "commandist 'socialism' " (your scare-quotes around 'socialism'), and the triumph of neo-liberal capitalism led and enforced by the USA, every country in the world- with the exceptions only of Cuba, North Korea and arguably one or two others- took the road of privatisation, marketisation, increased facility for the dominance of Western capital, etc.

And what was the fate of those exceptions? Cuba was almost starving in the 1990s, and North Korea was actually starving.

The loss of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe caused a very practical problem for every Third World country. From 1989-1991 onwards, the socialist bloc was no longer available as a trade and investment partner, leaving less developed countries with little apparent alternative but to scramble for opportunities to be exploited by US and European imperialism. And the local political changes which facilitated this process were made by the ruling parties of every country in the world- with those same very small exceptions.

This process took place almost universally on our planet. Yet in looking at why the ANC has taken part in that process, you consider exclusively the nature of that organisation, the local and internal factors.

In respect of the trade union movement and the Communist Party, you complain that their leaderships have been "wholly unable to actually lead an independent working class politics and struggle", and accompany this with a banal explanation that they had "personal privileges and material comforts" made available to them.

Again, you banish the context, which is ideological as well as economic. Not only had the socialist bloc collapsed; even social-democratic economic arrangements were defeated and discredited. So there did not appear to be a viable alternative model to neo-liberal capitalism. Even today, following the successes in Latin America, the extent to which Third World countries can succeed in building socialism is by no means clear.

Your opinion is that the ANC cannot be a vehicle for progress in South Africa, rather that it is an obstacle, hence the gloating tone of your article. But an obstacle to what? You say that the "falling apart [of the ANC] has been going on for some time"; and that there has been an "opening up of political space to the left of the ANC". But the community struggles to which you refer have not produced a credible non-ANC political alternative which shows any prospect of a realistic fight to win state power.

Meanwhile, the opening up of debate within the ANC on economic policy is a positive development, in which the Communist Party and COSATU are playing a crucial role.

Thu 27 Nov 2008, 9:18 GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa will continue to manage its economy with restraint after next year's elections, despite pressure from leftist allies seeking to adopt more expansionary policies, ruling ANC leader Jacob Zuma said.

Zuma, who is likely to become president after the elections, told the American Chamber of Business late on Wednesday that the government would maintain the policies that had spurred a decade of strong growth and prepared the country well for the choppy economic waters ahead.

"We are proud of the fiscal discipline, sound macro-economic management and general manner in which the economy has been managed. That calls for continuity," he said in a copy of his speech.

"Because of the policies we have adopted in the past, and the difficult decisions we have had to make, we are likely to weather this particular global economic storm to a certain extent."

South Africa's rand and stock market have been hard hit by risk aversion linked to the financial crisis and economic growth has slowed on a combination of declining global output and high interest rates.

The Treasury believes South Africa is likely to avoid a recession and its expansion is seen outpacing growth in developed countries. According to a consensus of analysts' expectations, South Africa's growth is expected to slow to between 2 and 3 percent in 2009.

Zuma credited the economic policies of the past decade with spurring growth and said the leftist allies of the ANC -- the powerful labour federation COSATU and the South African Communist Party -- did not decide its policies.

"ANC policies are formulated by the ANC. Our alliance partners participate in the process," he said.

"However, they cannot and do not dictate to the ANC what its policies should be."

COSATU and the communist party are pushing for an overhaul of policies including the focus on inflation targeting, and want a more expansionary fiscal stance.

They helped elect Zuma to his ANC position, frustrated by former President Thabo Mbeki's pro-business leanings.

Despite Zuma's assurances, many investors remain cautious given that the ANC's top decision-making body is dominated by those sympathetic to leftist policies.