Whenever negative headlines about corruption and malpractice hit the South African press a discussion starts on whether South Africa is following the fate of Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe the leader of the liberation movement, Robert Mugabe, has turned into a dictator and his party ZANU PF into an organisation that substituted the rule of law with violence and corruption. As people express similar concerns about the ANC, it is worth taking a look at the structures of that party. This paper by Arnold Wehmhoerner, FEPS correspondent in Southern Africa does just that.
He finds that corruption is the most serious threat to the stability of the system but that the ideals of the liberation struggle fade but they are still present. The ANC remains a lively and basically democratic organisation and in certain respects Zuma has been a surprisingly better party leader than Mbeki with his dictatorial tendencies. The tendencies in the party to soften the democratic principle of division of power by extending its control on the prosecution, judiciary and media will be opposed by groups within the ANC camp itself, especially the trade unions. This is not a guaranty against Zanufication, but considering the strength of civil society, the liberal traditions and the deep integration in the global economy this is not inevitable.”