South Africa

South African Ruling Party Suffers Worst Results Yet in Local Elections

The African National Congress has dominated since the end of apartheid.


South Africa held local elections last week. The African National Congress, which has dominated South Africa's politics since the first all-race democratic elections in 1994, has suffered its worst result yet. While the party polled at more than 50 percent nationally, the ANC lost majority control on city councils in Pretoria, the country's capital, Johannesburg, the country's economic powerhouse, and Port Elizabeth. If the ANC fails to entice other parties into forming governing coalitions at the local level, control of some of South Africa's main cities will pass to Democratic Alliance, an opposition party that has, hitherto, only controlled Cape Town. Most observers agree on the reasons for the ANC's poor showing: incompetence and corruption. Below, I look at 10 indicators of institutional quality as measured by the World Bank, Transparency International and World Economic Forum. As can be seen, institutional quality in South Africa is either poor or declining when compared to Botswana, one of the best run African countries, let alone the United States.

1. The World Bank's rule of law indicator shows South Africa's rating declining from an all-time high in 2006.

2. Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index shows the country's corruption rating in permanent decline.

3. The World Bank's Government effectiveness indicator has also been declining since 1996.

4. According to the World Economic Forum, favoritism in decisions by government officials has worsened since a high point in 2009.

5. Similarly, the World Economic Forum has found that government spending has grown increasingly wasteful (though not as wasteful as that of Botswana).

6. Irregular (i.e., undocumented extra) payments and bribes have also been on the rise in South Africa.

7. Moreover, illegal diversion of public funds to private companies, individuals and groups has been increasing.

8. Transparency of government policy making has also suffered, though not as much as that in Botswana.

9. Reliability of policing has actually improved since its nadir in 2009, but still lags behind that of well-run Botswana.

10. Not surprisingly, perhaps, public trust in politicians declined to an all-time low in 2014 and has remained poor.

It is that mistrust in politicians that partly explains the ANC's poor performance at last week's polls. The next general election will be held in 2019. By that time, the ANC may be sufficiently weakened and relegated to the opposition benches. A birth of "normal" politics that see a regular turnover at the top will be good for South Africa's democracy as well as for the health of the country's institutions.

NEXT: Tell Donald Trump That Immigrants Are Making Michigan Great Again

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “…the reasons for the ANC’s poor showing: incompetence and corruption.”

    Fuckin’ pinkos never learn. I mean, it’s one thing to be stupid, but to not be able to learn?

    1. I’m making $96 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $120 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss.
      Just working on the internet for a few hours.
      This is what I do.——————-

  2. the ANC’s poor showing: incompetence and corruption

    And yet Chicago, Detroit, Filthadelphia, et al remain firmly in the grip of the Donkey Party…

    1. Because people can leave.

      South Africans have fewer choices because more of their country is in shambles.

      1. No kidding. My Swiss Overlords recently threw up their hands and sold off our S.A. business.

    2. Detroit went from a population of 1.8 million in 1950 to a current population of 677,000. Of course the government hasn’t shrunk in proportion.

  3. There is a lot of scientific investment being made in South Africa. I really, really hope they don’t go the way of Zimbabwe or Venezuela.

  4. Hudson . although Henry `s article is flabbergasting, last thursday I bought a brand new Buick after having earned $7028 recently an would you believe ten-grand this past-munth . it’s actualy the most-comfortable job I have ever had . I began this 4 months ago and practically straight away started making a nice at least $83.

  5. Something tells me that the “Cognitive Dissonance Index” hit the ceiling 10-20 years ago.

  6. Ella . you think Victoria `s storry is astonishing… on saturday I bought themselves a Car after bringing in $7899 this – 5 weeks past and-more than, 10-k last munth . it’s by-far the best-job I have ever had . I began this 8-months ago and almost straight away started to earn minimum $77

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.