After the South African elections last week, the masses of exuberant people took to the streets celebrating their candidates’ victory. Civilians, old and young, flaunted their black, green and yellow paraphernalia
Yet the Zuma frenzy died down and people returned to their quotidian lives.The pandemonium from taxi honking, chanting, and blow horns bellowing “Zuma” soon subsided.
And so the question remains, will Zuma live up to this
initial popularity among his working class voters? Will future South African
politics continue to resemble its existing economic dichotomy, where ‘the
haves’ receive the government’s backing to explore untapped markets while the
‘have-nots’ barely make enough from their meager fruit and vegetable sales at
local open air markets?
With the ANC’s legacy of fighting apartheid and creating a platform of equality, and poverty alleviation, many expect a clear and committed plan in achieving broad based empowerment. Unfortunately, according to Fazila Farouk, Executive Director of the South African Civil Society Information Service, “early signs are worrying. Zuma has not said anything that indicates a break from the past, which would put South Africa firmly on the road to dealing with structural poverty. For the time being it looks pretty much as though the poor are still going to get screwed.”
In light of the recent IMF and World Bank projections, which claim that an additional 52 million people will fall deeper into poverty, what policies will Zuma implement to ensure his people escape these impending predictions?
I suppose for now all we can do is observe critically, pose thoughtful questions and hope that the ANC legacy continues to represent a politics of equality, freedom, and peace.