South Africa's July Riots and the Long Shadow of Jacob Zuma Fall Over Party and State

opinion

The ANC chokes and South Africa convulses. This reality emerges as the country limps out of the aftermath of the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng riots.

The recent unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were triggered by the jailing of Jacob Zuma for contempt of court at a time when contempt had become Zuma's only option besides incriminating himself. Zuma and his followers had implied in the past that all hell would break loose should his prosecution (persecution, as they argue) proceed. Hell, in the frame of destruction and anarchy did break loose, geographically specific and contained in just over a week. In the aftermath South Africa is consumed with picking up the pieces, stitching back together the political, economic and social fabric, and possibly searching for the next rainbow.

This is the long shadow of Jacob Zuma. The effects of the Zuma-linked July 2021 explosion will be felt for a considerable time, both by the ANC and South Africa. It is a tale of knock-on effects when a political party with lingering Struggle legitimacy becomes the de facto one-party hegemon within a multiparty democracy. Party and state fuse. The party's problems reverberate nationally. This analysis assesses political, economic and social...

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