South Africa: Young Guns, Bloodshed and the Battle for Political Power - the Next Generation

analysis

A fresh class is being inducted into a culture of corruption -- they are learning that the way to political office is through patronage, the dispensing of largesse and even the firing of bullets.

The use of violence to attain an advantage in SA politics has slowly increased over the past few years. This had been seen as largely confined to KwaZulu-Natal, but the death last weekend of a member of the ANC Youth League at a mass meeting in Tshwane suggests the scourge has spread. That people resort to violence for something as apparently low-level as a youth conference indicates that the stakes are, in fact, very high.

Violence to attain political ends has a long history in South Africa. It was used by colonialists, by the apartheid government and in many workplaces. It crept into our modern democratic society in many disturbing ways.

But the fact that we now have so many incidents of violence in our schools, from learners stabbing each other to taking guns to class, shows we are still a broken society. In such a violent society, political violence is likely to follow soon.

In KwaZulu-Natal, in the run-up to the ANC's Nasrec conference, several...

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