John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "ANC"

Podcast: Politics in Jacob Zuma’s South Africa

by John Campbell
South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan speaks to President Jacob Zuma (R) during closing remarks during the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban, March 27, 2013. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

In this episode of Africa in Transition, John Campbell and Allen Grane catch up with Simon Freemantle, senior political economist at Standard Bank Research. Recorded days before President Jacob Zuma’s removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the podcast addresses the complex factors at play in South African politics. Read more »

No Confidence Vote Postponed in South Africa

by John Campbell
President Jacob Zuma looks on as members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party raise objections during Zuma's question and answer session in Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, September 13, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Speaker of the South African National Assembly Baleka Mbete has postponed the date for a vote of no confidence in the government of Jacob Zuma from April 18 to early May. The delay was caused by the request to the Constitutional Court from the United Democratic Movement (UDM) that the vote be by secret ballot. The court has agreed to review the case, but has not yet made a decision. The speaker, who agreed to wait on the courts decision, is a political ally of President Jacob Zuma and is the national chairperson of his African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

South African Demonstrations Unlikely to Move the ANC and Zuma

by John Campbell
Demonstrators carry banners as they take part in a protest calling for the removal of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 7, 2017. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Over the Palm Sunday weekend, there were large demonstrations in South Africa’s urban centers against President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC) in the aftermath of last week’s cabinet reshuffle. The largest demonstrations took place in Cape Town and Pretoria, where, according to the media, demonstrators numbered in the tens of thousands. Elsewhere, demonstrations were much smaller. The demonstrations received extensive media coverage internationally and in the United States, however, they will certainly have no impact on Zuma’s position or the ANC in the short term. For his part, Zuma accused the protestors of being racist. Read more »

The Morning After in South Africa

by John Campbell
Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma's firing of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, outside Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, March 31, 2017. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

For now, Jacob Zuma has succeeded in defeating his rivals for the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) and an upcoming parliamentary vote of no-confidence will likely fail. The intra-party show-down has followed on the heels of his dramatic cabinet reshuffle. Zuma carried out this reshuffle without consultation within the ANC or with its partners in government, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Read more »

Uncertainties Mount Whether Zuma’s Presidency Will Survive

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma reacts during the launch of a social housing project in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, April 1, 2017. (Reuters/Rogan Ward/File photo)

Voices calling for President Jacob Zuma to resign or to be removed from office are getting louder in the wake of his cabinet reshuffle and removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Within his African National Congress (ANC) the Integrity Commission – intended as an internal corruption watchdog but often toothless – has announced that at an April 9 meeting with the president, it will ask him to resign. Powerful ANC figures including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize have disassociated themselves from the reshuffle, though they have not publicly called for Zuma to go. The Mandela Foundation and the Kathrada Foundation, keepers of the liberation movement flame, have done so, as has former President Kgalema Motlanthe. Read more »

Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet Reshuffle Bad News for South Africa

by John Campbell
Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma's firing of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, outside Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, March 31, 2017. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

As part of a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle, President Jacob Zuma has fired highly respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, along with other long-time stalwarts of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Gordhan and Jonas had long opposed pet projects of the president, and Gordhan has become the symbol of reform and good governance even as the reputation of the governing ANC under Zuma’s leadership has declined into a miasma of charges of corruption and “state capture” by the president’s cronies. Many South Africans (including those within the ANC) will see Gordhan’s departure as a major setback for “reform” and the struggle against corruption. International investors already are not happy. The Rand fell dramatically yet again against the U.S. dollar. There is now a greater likelihood that the international credit rating agencies will downgrade South Africa’s sovereign debt to junk status. Read more »

South Africa, Refugees, and Populism

by John Campbell
Foreign men from Malawi queue to board buses from a camp for those affected by anti-immigrant violence in Chatsworth north of Durban, April 18, 2015. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

Rosettenville, a suburb of Johannesburg, was the site of the February 11-12 burning of buildings alleged to have been used by “prostitutes and drug dealers.” These “prostitutes and drug dealers” have been  popularly identified as “Nigerians.” In the aftermath of the fires, the mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, bitterly criticized the South African government for failing to secure South Africa’s borders. (Mashaba is a prominent leader of the Democratic Alliance, the official opposition to the African National Congress government of Jacob Zuma.) Read more »

Jacob Zuma and the State of the South African Nation

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma before speaking to members of the Twelve Apostles' Church in Christ at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa, December 4, 2016. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

On February 9, President Jacob Zuma will deliver South Africa’s annual State of the Nation speech in parliament. The substance of the speech is likely to be a mixture of policy stability with calls for “radical” transformation of ownership of the economy. Few expect that the speech will really break new ground or that it will presage “radical” change. Rather, his remarks will be shaped by concern for his legacy and the leadership succession fight within the governing African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

South Africa’s ANC Horserace

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (L), who is also the president of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), gestures next to his Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during the party's 104th anniversary celebrations in Rustenburg, January 9, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Everybody loves a horserace among political personalities. South Africa is no different. The December 2017 African National Congress (ANC) leadership contest is commonly seen as a race between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the a reformer with an urban constituency, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Zuma’s ex-wife and potential protector of his patronage networks. A possible dark horse is Zweli Mkhize, ANC party treasurer, who has been identified as a likely compromise candidate. There are also suggestions of compromise arrangements, such as Ramaphosa accepting Dlamini-Zuma as deputy president of the party or vice versa. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters Breaks with Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe

by John Campbell
Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) looks on before addressing his supporters during his campaign, ahead of the August 3, local government elections, in Etwatwa, a township near Benoni, South Africa, July 27, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko.)

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a voice of radical causes, including the expropriation of white-owned land without compensation. It is led by Julius Malema, former head of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL). Malema later broke with ANC party leader Jacob Zuma and was expelled from the party. He then organized the EFF as a rival party, which won over 6 percent of the vote in the 2014 general elections and more than 8 percent of the vote in the 2016 national municipal elections. Read more »