John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "ANC"

Jacob Zuma and South Africa’s Constitution

by John Campbell
A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Reuters/Rogan Ward) A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

The South African government spent about $24 million on “security upgrades” to President Jacob Zuma’s private estate, Nkandla. Those “security upgrades” included a swimming pool, a chicken run, and a football pitch. In 2014, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela investigated the expenditure and found some of it improper, and directed the president to pay back some—not all—of the public money spent on the estate. President Zuma refused, and was supported by his cabinet minister and the governing African National Congress (ANC) majority in parliament. Read more »

South African Icon Disillusioned with Ruling Party Leadership

by John Campbell
A copy of a combo picture showing Rivonia trialists with their names written by hand is seen on the wall in Maybuye Center in Cape Town, March 10, 2005. From L to R on the top row are Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Gowan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba and on the bottom row are Elias Motsoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, and Dennis Goldberg. (Reuters/Radu Sigheti) A copy of a combo picture showing Rivonia trialists with their names written by hand is seen on the wall in Maybuye Center in Cape Town, March 10, 2005. From L to R on the top row are Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Gowan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba and on the bottom row are Elias Motsoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, and Dennis Goldberg. (Reuters/Radu Sigheti)

On January 24, in London, UK Prime Minister David Cameron honored Nelson Mandela’s three surviving co-defendants at the 1964 Rivonia trial. They were Denis Goldberg, Ahmad Kathrada, and Andrew Mlangeni. Cameron also honored their suriviving defense attorneys, Lord Joel Joffe and George Bizos, who succeeded in avoiding the death penalty for their clients, though not twenty-six years of imprisonment. Read more »

Comedy and Democracy in South Africa

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma laughs as he delivers his State of the Nation Address after the formal opening of Parliament in Cape Town, February 14, 2013. (Reuters//Rodger Bosch/Pool) South African President Jacob Zuma laughs as he delivers his State of the Nation Address after the formal opening of Parliament in Cape Town, February 14, 2013. (Reuters//Rodger Bosch/Pool)

For most Americans, their first exposure to South African comedy has been Trevor Noah, the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” Noah’s January 20, riff on Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump is an example of South African standup comedy at its best, with the added dimension of an African “seeing us as others see us.” One example is his comment that America is such a great place because “…presidents might have term limits but Sarah Palin is forever.” Read more »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by John Campbell and Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney) Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

While western governments are currently transfixed on events in Iraq and Syria, it is important that they do not forget Africa. Boko Haram has become the world’s deadliest terrorist organization and Libya is increasingly becoming a base of operations for the Islamic State. Below, CFR’s Africa program outlines six African issues to watch in 2016. While they could certainly affect the lives of millions of Africans, these issues could also have serious implications for international politics. Read more »

South Africa’s ANC and an In-House Critic

by John Campbell
South African President Nelson Mandela (L) unveils a tombstone at the grave of the late South Africa Communist Party (SACP) leader Joe Slovo May 4. (Reuters) South African President Nelson Mandela (L) unveils a tombstone at the grave of the late South Africa Communist Party (SACP) leader Joe Slovo May 4. (Reuters)

Since the 1994 transition to “non-racial” democracy and Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as president, South Africa has been governed by “the triple alliance.” This alliance is made up of the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Read more »

Legitimizing Xenophobia: How South Africa Breeds Distrust of Foreigners

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Demonstrators carry placards during a march against xenophobia in downtown Johannesburg, April 23, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) Demonstrators carry placards during a march against xenophobia in downtown Johannesburg, April 23, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School.

Twenty-five years ago South Africans sought global assistance to create an inclusive democracy. As of yet it has failed to achieve that goal. South Africa continues to sit economically as it does geographically, at the nexus of the first and third world. It’s a nation of people from developed and developing countries, and of rich and poor. It is plagued by inequity between, and within, its black and white neighborhoods. Economic opportunity is limited, social cohesion remains fragmented, and the country has devolved into bouts of identity violence with foreign populations often the victims. This is especially the case in economically vulnerable areas where there is competition for housing, education, employment, and ultimately for survival. Read more »

South Africa’s Ruling ANC Party Losing Numbers

by John Campbell
President of South Africa Jacob Zuma addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz) President of South Africa Jacob Zuma addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

South African President and African National Congress (ANC) party leader Jacob Zuma is complaining that the ruling ANC is losing members. At a party policy forum in early October he announced that party membership had fallen to 769,000 from some 1.2 million three years previously. Read more »

South Africa’s Possible Presidential Successors

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma (L) and the new African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attend the closing ceremony of the African Union (AU) leaders' meeting in Addis Ababa, July 16, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/Tiksa Neger) South African President Jacob Zuma (L) and the new African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attend the closing ceremony of the African Union (AU) leaders' meeting in Addis Ababa, July 16, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/Tiksa Neger)

Jacob Zuma’s term as president of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) ends in 2017; his term as South Africa’s president ends in 2019. Zuma’s successor as ANC president will almost certainly be South Africa’s next president, unless there is an electoral upset of an enormous magnitude. Read more »

South Africa’s Paralympian and Gender Based Violence

by John Campbell
South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius (C) is escorted to a police van after his sentencing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria October 21, 2014. Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, ending a trial that has gripped South Africa and the world. (Courtesy Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius (C) is escorted to a police van after his sentencing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria October 21, 2014. Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, ending a trial that has gripped South Africa and the world. (Courtesy Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

It is conventional wisdom that South Africa has a very high rate of domestic abuse. (Exact rates are unknown due to irregularities in South Africa’s statistics, combined with the fact that gender based violence is vastly underreported worldwide.) Oscar Pistorius is a celebrated South African athlete who competed in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, using prostheses (his legs were amputated as a child). In 2014, he killed his live-in girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African model. At the trial, he said he believed she was an intruder. He was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter before a black, female judge, Thokozile Masipa. (The race and gender of the judge caused little comment.) She found that the prosecution failed to prove intent, necessary for a murder charge. The trial was the occasion for much South African soul-searching, not least about domestic abuse and gender-based violence. Read more »

Putin’s Russia and Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov (C) arrives at the airport in Abuja, Nigeria May 28, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov (C) arrives at the airport in Abuja, Nigeria May 28, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

This is a guest post by Eugene Steinberg, an assistant editor at the Council on Foreign Relations.

From 1961 to 1992, one of Moscow’s most prestigious schools bore the name of Patrice Lumumba, the Soviet-supported Congolese independence leader brutally executed in 1961. Patrice Lumumba University recruited and educated generations of foreign leaders, especially African leaders, and was just one of the many ways in which the Soviet Union cultivated ties with Africa. Then with the fall of the Soviet Union, after years of pouring money, arms, and manpower into left-leaning anticolonial movements, Russia’s presence in Africa, and Lumumba University, nearly disappeared overnight. But today, two decades later, Russia is once again working to establish a foothold on the continent. Read more »