John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Economic Freedom Fighters"

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 Africa, a King, and the Rule of Law

by John Campbell
AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo speaks to journalists after handing over a memorandum to government officials in Pretoria, July 10, 2013.  (Reuters/Sumaya Hisham) AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo speaks to journalists after handing over a memorandum to government officials in Pretoria, July 10, 2013. (Reuters/Sumaya Hisham)

The alarums and excursions over South Africa’s economy and economic policy do not stop. December saw the discreditable episode of President Jacob Zuma’s hiring and firing multiple ministers of finance in only a few days and a drop in the country’s estimated economic growth rate to perhaps 1.2 percent. The new year kicked off with an apparent standoff with the United States over trade that if unresolved would end South Africa’s participation in the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). But, a BBC news item that appeared New Year’s Eve highlights how South Africa’s commitment to the rule of law makes it well-prepared to weather the multiple crises of the moment. 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 »

Star Economist Says Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa Has Failed

by John Campbell
France's Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin (L), Finance Minister Thierry Breton (2nd L), Education Minister Gilles de Robien (2nd R) and Thomas Piketty, director of the Paris School of Economics (PSE), attend the inauguration of the school in Paris, February 22, 2007. (Reuters/Benoit Tessier) France's Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin (L), Finance Minister Thierry Breton (2nd L), Education Minister Gilles de Robien (2nd R) and Thomas Piketty, director of the Paris School of Economics (PSE), attend the inauguration of the school in Paris, February 22, 2007. (Reuters/Benoit Tessier)

On October 3, Thomas Piketty, the French economist and best-selling author of Capital in the 21st Century, said in his prestigious Nelson Mandela lecture that South Africa’s “…black economic empowerment strategies… were not successful in spreading the wealth.” He said that 60 to 65 percent of the country’s wealth is held by 10 percent of the population, compared with 50 to 55 percent in Brazil and 40 to 45 percent in the United States. He made the point that out of the wealthiest 5 percent of South Africans  up to 80 percent are white. Read more »

South Africa’s Independent Judiciary

by John Campbell
Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Party (EFF), waves to supporters during his party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. South Africa goes to the polls on Wednesday in elections which are expected to keep the ruling Afican National Congress (ANC) of President Jacob Zuma in power. (Courtesy Reuters/Skyler Reid) Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Party (EFF), waves to supporters during his party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. South Africa goes to the polls on Wednesday in elections which are expected to keep the ruling Afican National Congress (ANC) of President Jacob Zuma in power. (Courtesy Reuters/Skyler Reid)

Julius Malema has been convicted of anti-white hate speech, and advocates the nationalization of white property without compensation. He has attacked the governing African National Congress (ANC) establishment, ranging from former president Thabo Mbeki to current president Jacob Zuma to possible future president Cyril Ramaphosa. He is the founder of a radical, populist political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which won 6 percent of the vote in the 2014 elections, making it the third largest party in parliament. The EFF has disrupted parliamentary sittings, notably in its protests against President Zuma’s alleged corruption with respect to his private estate, Nkandla. Read more »

South Africa’s EFF and Charleston

by John Campbell
Julius Malema, leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), leaves parliament with supporters in Cape Town, August 21, 2014. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) Julius Malema, leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), leaves parliament with supporters in Cape Town, August 21, 2014. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a populist , far-left “revolutionary” political party led by Julius Malema is now the third largest in South Africa’s National Assembly under the system of proportional representation, though it received only about 6.35 percent of the votes in the 2014 elections. It has issued a statement on the Emanuel Church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina. It will have credibility, especially to those unfamiliar the United States. Read more »

A New Generation of South African Politics?

by John Campbell
A statue of Nelson Mandela stands outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), near Paarl in Western Cape province, February 10, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters) A statue of Nelson Mandela stands outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), near Paarl in Western Cape province, February 10, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

The African National Congress’s (ANC) electoral support is slowly eroding. Its share of the national vote has declined to 62.2 percent in 2014 from its high water mark of 69.7 percent in 2004. Its leader, President Jacob Zuma, is much more unpopular than the party, and outside his Zulu core constituency, many see him as corrupt and incompetent. Read more »

President Zuma Unlikely to Exit Early

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma greets supporters of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party during their final election rally in Soweto, May 4, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) South Africa's President Jacob Zuma greets supporters of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party during their final election rally in Soweto, May 4, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

When Jacob Zuma succeeded Thabo Mbeki as African National Congress (ANC) party leader and eventually became the South African chief of state, his flaws were already well known: personal financial issues, a rape trial (he was acquitted), and corruption scandals. The ANC was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Read more »

South Africa’s President Zuma Stonewalls

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma arrives to give his State of the Nation address at the opening session of parliament in Cape Town, February 12, 2015. (Nic Bothma/Courtesy Reuters) South African President Jacob Zuma arrives to give his State of the Nation address at the opening session of parliament in Cape Town, February 12, 2015. (Nic Bothma/Courtesy Reuters)

For many South Africans, the expenditure of roughly 246 million Rand (about $24.6 million) on President Jacob Zuma’s private residential compound, Nkandla, has become symbolic of the corruption at the upper reaches of the African National Congress (ANC). Parliamentary members of the ANC’s opposition have increasingly complained about the misuse of public money to fund Zuma’s ostentatious home. Read more »

Black and White Income Inequality in South Africa and the United States

by John Campbell
A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa is notorious for having gross income inequality. Its GINI coefficient–a standard for measuring income inequality–is one of the highest in the world. The World Bank computed it at 63.1 in 2009, with zero being absolute equality and one hundred absolute inequality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the GINI coefficient for the United States in 2012 was 47.7. When analyzing these two GINI coefficients, there is a danger of comparing apples with oranges. The GINI coefficients here cited were developed by two different institutions, no doubt with different methodologies. What GINI coefficients actually show is also a matter of debate. Still, they indicate income inequality was greater in South Africa than in the U.S. in recent years. Read more »