30 January 2014

South Africa: Analysis - So, Has the Game Changed? It May Very Well Have.

Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele will not run as the Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate in this year's election, South Africa's ... ( Resource: South Africa's Ramphele Changes Mind on Opposition Leadership Role )


In most democracies, you have to be careful when the leader of the main opposition party claims that a certain announcement is a "game-changer" for that state's politics. It is usually hyperbole. It can lead certain newspapers and television stations, and the odd radio bulletin, but it doesn't normally amount to very much. Come to think of it, when sitting presidents say the same thing, that often doesn't amount to very much more.

However, the DA's recruitment/renting/retention of Mamphela Ramphele as its presidential candidate is certainly part of a much bigger dynamic within our politics around race and class. But, at the same time, the split within Cosatu and the possible formation of a workers' party is a manifestation of the same processes. Where will it all end? STEPHEN GROOTES makes an early guess.

There are moments of forthright honesty in our politics. Sometimes, it's in an ANC policy discussion document, and sometimes it's Helen Zille in the middle of a major "game-changing" announcement. When asked, quite bluntly on Tuesday, if Ramphele was now the DA's presidential candidate simply because she was black, there was no denial. "It's not just because she's black," went the line - it's because of...

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