SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

The Unravelling of the ANC – Municipal Election Results, Cronyism, ‘Service Delivery’ Protests, the Marikana/Lonmin Miners Massacre, FeesMustFall Students’ Movement and the formation of a New Trade Union Federation


Date: 21 November 2016Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 21 November 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4429

Type of Event: Lecture

The recent local elections shattered the complacency of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC). The party dominant since the first democratic elections in 1994, lost control of three key metropolitan areas — Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), Tshwane (Pretoria) and Johannesburg — the country’s largest city and economic capital.

This presentation will delve into the reasons behind the dramatic drop in the ANC’s electoral support by focussing on significant events leading up to the elections including the Marikana/Lonmin massacre of mineworkers in 2012, the on-going FeesMustFall students movement, the expulsion of the biggest union (NUMSA - metalworkers) from COSATU, serious fissures in the ANC/SACP/COSATU alliance, and President Zuma's increasing reliance on a socially conservative rural leadership as well as state patronage.

Salim Vally will argue that understanding the political economy of racial capitalism in South Africa requires an analysis beyond the scandals centred on the President. Rather, it should involve the structural features of capital accumulation and its effects including an increase in inequality, unemployment and poverty while profit levels rises. It is also necessary to revisit the nature of the negotiated settlement between the ANC and the erstwhile apartheid regime and the adoption of a neoliberal macroeconomic programme in 1996. The presentation will also probe the possibility of a mass based left alternative to the ANC.

Speaker: Salim Vally (director of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, associate professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg and visiting professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University)

Chair: Stephen Chan (SOAS)

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