Magazine article New Internationalist

As ANC Turns 100, Critics Slam 'Neo-Apartheid'

Magazine article New Internationalist

As ANC Turns 100, Critics Slam 'Neo-Apartheid'

Article excerpt



The African National Congress (ANC) came to power in 1994 amid great expectations that they would bring prosperity to the black majority.

On the surface, the party has succeeded. Prospects are much improved since 1912 when the struggle began; black youth no longer face a narrow choice between miner and farm labourer. Many at the centenary celebrations will belong to a new black middle class, winners from the government's Black Economic Empowerment programme. They have an international outlook, and see a world of possibilities.

But those present will be only too aware of the sprawling poverty outside.

'The wage share of national income is dropping,' says Mazibuko Jara of Amandla! magazine. 'ANC policies have redistributed wealth to rich owners of capital, reproducing inequality and neo-apartheid geographies.'

Many poorer people have yet to reap the benefits from post-apartheid society. Although the ANC has made investments in housing and other public works, the speed of transformation is very sluggish.

The poor are now held hostage to subtler processes of class exclusion. Opportunities exist mostly for the educated and well-connected, and the interests of the new middle-class are increasingly diverging from those of the rural and urban poor.

'There's an ever-growing number of unemployed, or even unemployable, young people, many of whom will never find formal work. And by that I mean, ever,' says education activist Nomalanga Mkhize. 'What sort of society are we building? …

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