Analysis: Reflections on recent South Africa elections


South Africa elections

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE recent elections in South Africa proved that democracy works.  

The environment allowed citizens and political parties to campaign freely. Moses Mabhida Stadium was full for all parties which campaigned there, and they listened to the various manifesto speeches.  

The decision of the voters was power sharing.  No party had an outright majority.

The meaning of the overall elections was a call for a government of national unity (GNU).  

Indeed, too much or absolute power in the African National Congress (ANC) proved disastrous, as with many other Southern African countries.  

It is the same people returning to office, enriching themselves with sidekick businesses and contracts.  South Africa has underperformed.  

The acid test of an economy is the exchange value of its currency. The Rand lost six times its value in 30 years, from R3.29 to the US$ in 1994 to R19.33 in 2022.

Further, South Africa has the highest Gini coefficient at 63.0 followed by Namibia at 59.1 and Zambia at 57.1.  

The Gini is the measurement of the poorest to the richest. All these countries were under apartheid white rule. Mozambique is not very far.  What it means is that black liberation movements, on their own, failed to change the apartheid system.  

They maintained it and engaged in self-enrichment at the expense of the citizens.
The winner-takes-all method is at the centre of centralizing power but those with the power failed to broaden economic benefits to the general population.  

During the GNU in Zimbabwe the country made some strides, and managed to turnaround the economy, albeit briefly, as the GNU period soon came to an end.  

The return to winner-takes-all unitary system plunged the country back into economic decline, weakened currency and self-enrichment.  It creates a violent political environment, as winning outright became dog-eat-dog.

South Africa is at the crossroads, with the coalition government mooted in the next week.  The best method is to apportion the cabinet proportionally to the parliament representation for the top 5 parties, then allocate a select few to the many fragmentary parties.  

The Government of National Unity has still to mature but judging from Zimbabwe, Germany, Norway and other countries which adopted it, it is the best way to resolve the policy differences and to seek wider vision in economic growth, job creation and equality.
Reflections on the recent elections in South Africa GNU should be the way to go and should be tested in Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe etc.

NB: Luke Montgomery Zunga is researcher and economist at the South African Development Foundation.

– CAJ News

scroll to top