ASC Community Country Meeting: Elections in South Africa

Voter registration for the 2014 electionsSouth Africans will go to the polls on 7 May in what promises to be the country’s most interesting election since 1994. There is no doubt that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) will win again, but the polls suggest a much reduced majority. The performance of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a new radical-populist movement founded by youth leader Julius Malema after his expulsion from the ANC, will be keenly watched.

Political landscape

Of particular interest are the prospects for a new party on the left and the ruptures within the Tripartite Alliance of the ANC with the trade union movement COSATU and the South African Communist Party. The largest affiliate of COSATU, the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA), has announced that it will no longer campaign for the ANC but instead work towards the formation of a left front. This new formation will not contest the upcoming elections, but its electoral potential may change the political landscape. The Democratic Alliance (DA), the official opposition and the ruling party in the provincial government of the Western Cape, has set its sights on the key province of Gauteng. South Africans will elect not only the members of the national parliament, but also of the nine provincial parliaments.

20 years of democracy

Apart from looking in some detail at South Africa’s political landscape, the meeting will also address some of the underlying long term developments. What is the balance sheet of 20 years of democracy? What constitutes the social contract between rulers and ruled? Why do millions of South Africans routinely complain about massive corruption and lack of service delivery, only to turn out in large numbers to vote once again for the ANC? And how relevant is South Africa’s democratisation process for other African countries and the relationship with Europe? Are there lessons to be learned and shared?

Keynote speaker is Prof Susan Booysen of the Witwatersrand University: South Africa’s incredible Election 2014: Unpacking the conundrum of sapped but sustained ANC supremacy (Adobe PDF)
After her lecture, two Dutch politicians will give their reactions and there will be an open discussion with the participants. 
The programme for this event can be found here (Adobe PDF).

As the capacity of the room is limited, registration for this event is compulsory. You can register by sending an email to:

This meeting is the first in a series of country meetings around elections in African countries in cooperation with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD). As a political party assistance organization NIMD supports political parties and democratic movements in more than 20 countries around the world, including parties in a number of African countries. (Photo top of page: HelenOnline)

Susan BooysenSusan Booysen is professor in the Graduate School of Public and Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is the author of The African National Congress and the Regeneration of Political Power, an incisive analysis of the inner workings of the ANC and the relationship between the party and its heterogeneous constituency. She is also a frequent political commentator in South Africa’s media.

Date, time and location

22 April 2014
ProDemos, Hofweg 1H, The Hague