ANC blunders seen pushing S.Africa to Tunisia moment


South Africa’s ruling ANC has failed the people and its policy shortcomings have set the stage for uprising similar to the ones that toppled longstanding governments in North Africa, an influential political analyst said.

Moeletsi Mbeki, economist, author, businessman and member of one of the most prominent families in the country’s liberation struggle, told Reuters in an interview that the African National Congress was running out of ideas.
“The banana part of the republic is the public sector,” he said. “The private sector is a very powerful, very strong and very well managed.”

Few analysts have gotten under the skin of President Jacob Zuma as much as Mbeki, brother of former President Thabo Mbeki, whose access to top ANC officials has led to some of the most stinging attacks on the government, Reuters reports.

The ANC has called Moeletsi Mbeki “disrespectful and disingenuous”, but for many South Africans he provides the best informed insight into the workings of the ruling party.
“If you look at the huge incompetence of the public sector in South Africa and the massive growth of unemployment, our rising dependence on minerals, you have all the ingredients that triggered what happened in North Africa,” he said.

Since Nelson Mandela left office as president in 1999, South Africa has shown little improvement, or even slipped back, in areas that have been the top priorities of the ANC.

Education has represented the largest segment of state spending for years, but there has been little to show for all the money with country ranking near the bottom in global surveys for the quality of its schools.

Zuma has been criticised for fostering cronyism and has faced hundreds of protests from poor blacks angered that 17 years after apartheid ended the government is dragging its feet in providing electricity, running water and basic education.
“Whether Zuma is leader or not leader, the reality is that the ANC has run its life. It has no new value to add to the development of South Africa,” he said.

South Africa has spent billions of dollars to train workers and create jobs only to find large sums wasted by corruption, while the unemployment rate has stayed at around 25 percent.

Mbeki said not enough has been done to back entrepreneurs while much has been done to build a Black Economic Empowerment programme designed to give blacks disenfranchised by apartheid a greater share of the country’s wealth.

But BEE, launched when his brother was president, has been criticised for benefiting the politically connected while doing little to lower a poverty rate that has hovered at around 50 percent since the end of apartheid.
“The ANC government does not know what South Africa’s core national interests are. One day it is looking for foreign direct investment. The next day, it is interfering with foreigners investing in the country,” Mbeki said.
“I grew up in the ANC. I know all the strengths of the ANC and all of the weaknesses of the ANC,” Mbeki said.