'The ANC has yet again won a majority in South Africa’s general election despite its disastrous record, killing hope that the country will turn in the right direction. And the West must stop pretending this is just a glitch.
What’s wrong with the country that went to the polls on Wednesday to vote for a new National Assembly, goes well beyond the hard facts – unedifying as those are.
It’s not that half the population lives in absolute poverty, that more than a quarter of adults are unemployed, or that the country has yet again been declared officially the most unequal in the world. Nor is it the economic growth rate that has stagnated at below a two percent average for a decade, as the rest of the world recovered from the global crisis, or the regular blackouts, the violent crime rates, or that one in five adults is infected with HIV.
Rather, the story since 1994 is of a country being given a historic chance to show the way to prosperity and democracy for Africa – and failing to take it, exactly as the pessimists predicted.
This not some nostalgic rant hankering for white rule in South Africa. Apartheid was neither fair nor sustainable, disappearing during a period that swept away much sturdier political ideologies.
But it did leave the newly-proclaimed Rainbow Nation with first-world institutions and systems, from a functional democracy to a competitive industrial base to a free press. Merely linear development in the past 25 years would have put South Africa on par with the more prosperous parts of South America and mid-ranking Eastern European states, which had just as big a transformation to deal with.'
Read more: As it re-elects hopeless ANC again, do we finally admit that post-apartheid South Africa has failed?
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