South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) has, as was largely expected, won a sixth term with its May 8 election victory.
That consolidates the ANC’s position among the handful of elite political formations in Africa to maintain an uninterrupted stranglehold on power long after delivering independence.
Other parties in the special category include Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in Angola, Namibia’s South-West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo) and Frelimo (Mozambique).
There is also the Zimbabwe African National Union — Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), formerly Cameroon National Union, and Gabonese Democratic Party.
Worth noting, however, is that the ANC won with the lowest ever vote share (57.5 per cent) since Nelson Mandela led it to its first victory in 1994.
Eating into its support base are the Democratic Alliance, which is struggling to shed the white people party image, the more radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of political firebrand Julius Malema and a myriad fringe parties.
A similar trend was witnessed in the latest municipal elections in 2016, whose hallmark was ANC’s loss of Gauteng Province, which hosts the commercial nerve centre, Johannesburg.
But there is also voter apathy, largely due to a people becoming increasingly disillusioned by the successive ANC governments.
The ANC in general and the President-designate Cyril Ramaphosa in particular are well aware of what ails the party.
The runaway corruption that defined the Jacob Zuma reign, mass unemployment that has driven many blacks into hopelessness, unconscionable wealth gap and intercommunity and racial tensions must be confronted with singularity of purpose and conviction.