RW Johnson predicts tough times – but all may not be lost.
The really big difference arising from South Africa’s recent local government elections is that they considerably weakened President Jacob Zuma’s ability to control the succession race – and dispense patronage.
Zuma’s hopes for his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him could well have been dashed – leaving Zweli Mkhize (ANC Treasurer and former KwaZulu-Natal premier) as his most likely successor.
This is the view of political scientist and author RW Johnson, interviewed by Noseweek in his office at his home in Constantia, Cape Town.
“Many people feel that Zuma cost the ANC a lot of votes – which he did,” said Johnson. “The ANC lost something like 1,000 council seats around the country in the election. And those are not the only losses. Many ANC people working in the administrations of Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria will now lose their jobs because they are ANC cadres whose positions were based only on tenders and contracts. They were damn useless at their jobs.
“Add all that up and thousands of people in the ANC will lose their jobs and salaries as a direct result of these elections.
“In other words, Zuma’s decline has now cost them enormous amounts in patronage.”