A lot has been in the air over the 2016 local government elections and how it affects the leadership of President Jacob Zuma.
Political analyst Justice Malala has seized the opportunity to describe the situation as a time for the “clever blacks” to exact their revenge on the president.
In a column for the Guardian, Justice Malala said that the voters who President Zuma referred to as the clever blacks, refused to pledge their support for the ruling party because they were angry over lack of jobs, poor service delivery and the many scandals that have plagued Zuma.
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Zuma first used the term ‘clever blacks’ in 2012 when he insulted urban blacks saying: “They become the most eloquent in criticizing themselves about their own traditions and everything.” And Malala used the term back at Zuma to connote that the blacks are now wise enough to know who plays in their interest and who doesn’t.
“Last week, the clever blacks had their revenge on Zuma, delivering the heaviest electoral loss to Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress since democracy dawned in 1994 while setting up a mighty contest for national elections in 2019,” Justice Malala wrote.
“That moment has now arrived as the party that led the international liberation struggle against apartheid failed to convince its core urban constituency to vote for it in significant numbers.”
Though the ruling party maintained its massive support in rural South Africa, the party seems shocked to witness it’s first loss in most of its strong-holds in the urban areas mainly Nelson Mandela Bay and the city of Pretoria.
“The ANC now finds itself holding onto small towns and rural areas, where many residents depend on government services and grants; The middle class and workers in the factories are not so dependent on the state.” Somadoda Fikeni, a politics professor at the University of South Africa in Pretoria reportedly noted.
Addressing this, Malala also pointed out that the August 3 elections was a watershed moment because it means South Africa is no longer a country dominated by one party of liberation.
Justice Malala said the ANC under Zuma, has been ravaged by corruption scandals, infighting and splits. Unemployment has increased beyond 26% while credit rating downgrades still looms as the Reserve Bank predicts zero growth for South Africa in 2016.
According to the analyst also, the ANC ran a negative and racist campaign aimed at the DA, to mask its own failings. “Campaigning in Nelson Mandela Bay, Zuma called the DA ‘snakes, the children of the National party’ and repeatedly referred to its young black leader as a puppet of whites,”
“Urban South Africans did not buy this scaremongering. As the memories of the Mandela years and the liberation struggle have faded, and the ANC’s internal troubles have spilled out into the open, so too has unquestioning faith in the country’s liberation party and its veterans such as Zuma”
The political analyst further pointed out that the local election had through the clever blacks, ushered in a new era of competitive politics in a terrain where once the ANC’s struggle credentials ensured it unparalleled success.