Next Wednesday, there will have general elections in South Africa, 20 years after the first multi-racial ones in the "rainbow nation". This will be the first time that the "born frees" -1st generation after the Apartheid regime- will vote. But, as Schadrack Ngombabu, a student at the University of Johannesburg, tells me: "The general elections are very confusing in South Africa as many youths aren't sure of who we can entrust to secure out futures." Thus, there is a doubt toward politicians. Worse, an increasing mistrust toward the African national congress (ANC): "We aren't sure if voting for the ANC is the right decision", comments the student.
This mistrust is linked to disapointment of the population toward the ANC. Affairs pollute the party, and thus, the State. Jacob Zuma, the incumbent president since 2009, built his new property, in his province of KwaZulu-Natal, partially with public money. Whereas the townships aren't still renovated -excepted Soweto, symbolic place of struggle against apartheid-, leaving millions of South Africans without electricity, nor tap water. This illustrates an economic and social contrast. According to data coming from the World bank, the economic growth of South Africa is about 3.5% on average between 1994 and 2012, in spite of the actual economic crisis (graph 1). However, the level of unemployment increased for the same period (graph 2). Moreover, a few black people rose socially, creating a black bourgeoisie, allied to the white one -illustration of class struggle against workers, black or white-, and Trade unions, like the Numsa, prefer removing their support for the ANC, after bloody repression of strikes in mines, in 2012. Nevertheless, the ANC is promised to a large majority of votes, according to opinion polls.
The opposition is heterogenous. The Democratic alliance (DA) of Helen Zille, former mayor of Cape Town, is considered as the first opposition party against the ANC. The DA, which is a liberal-conservative party, is still suffering of the image of a racist party, despite integration of black executives within the party. The Congress of the people (COPE) is composed by former ANC activists, who were the right-wing of the ANC and left the party, after affairs within the ANC, which prefered more Jacob Zuma than his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki. A new party, the Economic front fighters (EFF), is led by Julius Malema, former head of the ANC youth league (ANCYL), symbolizing the left-wing of the ANC. He was exclued by the ANC after racist provocations against the Afrikaner community, and after critizing Jacob Zuma, even if he supported him against Thabo Mbeki in 2009. Now, the EFF could be the 3rd political party in South Africa, according to opinion polls.
Finally, the most important results for observers, politicians, journalists are the score of the ANC, and the abstention rate. If the first one is lower than 2009 (65.9% of votes), and the second one higher than 2009 (22.7%), it could show a growing -and dangerous- estrangement from political parties, such as it may be seen in other democratic countries like the USA, the UK, Spain, Italy, or France for instance.
Graph 1: growth
Graph 2: Unemployment (global and young people)