As Koos Malan has warned many blithe and optimistic commentators, the ANC is not to be judged on opinion polls.
While many cheered seeing the ANC achieve a near-50% result in the 2021 local elections, Malan reminds us that the ANC election machine only gets into gear for the nationals. And this is visible in election results – they poll consistently higher in nationals, and not only that, but they poll on average around 3 points higher than professional opinion polls indicate.
And when I took all the publicly available opinion polls and took an average of their results, sure enough, the average of those opinion polls gave the ANC 47.5% - meaning that iff the polls deviate from real results as much as they do in normal elections, they should clear 50% by the skin of their teeth.
But let us not relax into then normal levels of pessimism.
Ramaphosa has decided that the regular amount of election-year violence and bread-and-circus shenanigans is not enough.
The ANC has decided that its Youth league is ready for a revival. And not just any revival.
The ANCYL has been dead since Julius Malema split form the party and took the YL with him in 2014. Since then, no stable elected leadership has been possible for the party. But this week, the party has elected its new representative, and Ramaphosa was there to let them know what was expected of them.
In the public speech he gave, he told them that the spirit they should embody is that of the 1980s, when the party was at its most militant. For most people, this means little more than elevated street activity. But for those of us who read our history books, this means something more dire.
The strategy adopted by the ANC in the years 1979-1993 was called the People’s War. It was based on the strategy used by Vietnamese communist general Vo Nguyen Giap, who declared that there is nobody who is not a combatant – anyone who is not with the movement is against them, be they men women or children. And no limits on legitimate violence shall be broached – all means are acceptable, hence the introduction of the use of necklacing in this period.
For anyone who would like a detailed look at this period, I can suggest the works of Anthea Jeffery. Only one other person has written a book on this era of ANC activity, and that is Charles Nqakula. The point of this strategy was to destroy all other black liberation movements and local administrations, so that the ANC could present a united front to negotiate with the apartheid government. They killed at least 20 000 people. I summarised these two books here, on my substack.
The use of military violence is not new – local branches of the ANC have been training groups to use firearms and other military hardware on the sly for years, though news coverage is scant (I include a link to one of the rare examples in the above substack link).
What Ramaphosa has thus exhorted his junior cadres to do, is to use decentralised and unaccountable violence to suppress their opposition in the coming year.
It remains to be seen to what extent this is to be taken seriously, but it is not to be ignored.
Today’s South Africa is not one which has a bottomless capacity of love for the ANC, but the capacity to resist the sort of violence, backed by police protection, that the SAPS can offer, is a different beast entirely.
Note that the SAPS are perfectly capable of forming villainous and illegal policies in line with the ruling party – since 2011, they have been protecting the gangs in the Cape from criminal consequences, as Sam Sole’s team of investigative journalists uncovered four years later.
In addition to the potential use of violence, the IEC has recruited the services of George Soros-owned “fact-checker” Real411, as well as Google and Meta (Facebook) to monitor all social media posts for ideas they don’t like, and to report them for criminal electoral interference. These are companies with a track record of censoring anyone who differs from American government policy, an activity that was recently struck down by the American Supreme Court.
The IEC has been captured by ANC cadre deployment for years now, and this move is likely to ensure that whatever happens in the leadup to the elections will be cleverly censored in line with whatever arrangement the ANC and these American companies have arranged.
But the most stunning development, is that the DA has commented on none of this.