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SOUTH AFRICA: ANC TO SPLIT?

Afrik.com - August 27, 2010

by Sakhile Modise

Former South African president in the aparthied era- FW De Klerk has claimed that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is heading for a split as "the glue which holds the ANC together has disappeared, and it is going to tear apart".

"If you analyse the broader structures of the ANC you will find people grouped together who believe in completely different things. The old glue which kept them connected was the struggle to end apartheid. Apartheid is gone now, and so is the cement" De Klerk is widely quoted saying by South African media Friday.

He added, "So the ANC is going to split. They don’t like hearing it, but I’m convinced it will happen. And when it does, we will see our democracy normalised to a greater degree.

"Then alliance politics will take a strong step forward in South Africa. Alliance politics allows for realistic compromises."

De Klerk, who received the Nobel Peace Prize along with former president Nelson Mandela in 1993, says he did not betray anyone or let anyone down.

"I am convinced that what we did between 1989 and 1994 was in the best interests of everyone in South Africa, and that we prevented a catastrophe.

"I’m convinced we saved hundreds of thousands of lives which would have been lost in a struggle that would have destroyed this country" said De Klerk who is best known for engineering the end of apartheid, South Africa’s racial segregation policy.

However, reading through the current wave of crippling industrial action by more than 1.3 million workers, De Klerk’s claims should not be taken lightly.

ANC this week said it was not going to intervene in the strike and this has angered the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions, which was pivotal in President Jacob Zuma’s rise.

COSATU has called a one-day national strike on September 2 in support of the state workers.

The ANC’s 17-year alliance with Cosatu has weakened since Zuma, 68, was elected last year as tensions over monetary policy and job creation increase and unions accuse officials of corruption.

Labor leaders are taking turns criticizing Zuma for visiting China while schools shut down and hospitals turned patients away.

The government has condemned the workers’ “sheer brutality” and called on troops to keep hospitals open. But this, according to political observers is "a fracturing of the Zuma coalition".

The strike is the latest in a series of industrial actions that closed ports and disrupted rail services in May and shut coal mines in July. It also comes three years after unions helped Zuma oust Thabo Mbeki as ANC leader.





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